BECK index

Summary and Evaluating Europe 1715-88

by Sanderson Beck

Britain’s Imperial Wars & Industrial Progress 1715-88
British Enlightenment
British Novels and Plays 1715-88
France of Louis XV and XVI
French Enlightenment
Southern Europe 1715-88
Austrian Empire and Prussian Militarism 1715-88
German Enlightenment
Northern Europe 1715-88
Eastern Europe 1715-88
Evaluating Europe 1715-88

Britain’s Imperial Wars & Industrial Progress

Britain and Revolutions 1648-1715

      In 1714 Hanover’s Elector succeeded Queen Anne as George I because he was a Protestant. Whigs won the election in 1715. Viscount Bolingbroke and Ormonde were impeached and fled to France. Jacobites from northeast England and Scotland tried to make James Francis Edward Stuart king in Scotland, but they were defeated by 1716. Britain reduced its army and allied with France, the Dutch, and the Austrian Empire. Lady Mary Wortley Montagu promoted smallpox inoculation. The Quadruple Alliance went to war against Spain in 1719, and peace was negotiated in 1720. The bursting of the South Sea bubble exposed a scandal involving £574,000 in bribes of government leaders. In 1722 Robert Walpole became England’s first prime minister and led the government for twenty years. By 1725 London had about 2,000 coffee houses, and England had eight provincial newspapers. Walpole’s mercantile policy imported commodities and exported manufactured goods.
      George II (r. 1727-60) succeeded his father and kept Walpole as first minister. Whigs won a large majority in the 1727 election, and their policies reduced the national debt by £8.5 million and increased production by abolishing export duties while increasing the tax on imports. Conservative Tories criticized Walpole’s policies in newspapers, literature, and theater, and a Dictionary of Arts and Sciences was published in 1728. Spain and Britain came to an agreement on Gibraltar in November 1729. Walpole decreased armed forces and lowered taxes. In 1730 Charles Townshend began rotating crops annually and increased them 30%. In 1731 Jethro Tull promoted his plow in Horse-Hoeing Husbandry, and his inventions would help multiply production by ten. In the 18th century farm workers moved to towns; relief for the poor increased; and using up forests led to importing timber. Newcomen’s steam engine stimulated the industrial revolution as factories employed workers. Men were paid more than women, and boys and girls got the least money.
      In 1732 a revived salt tax hurt the poor. Competition by British shipping and the Georgia colony provoked conflicts with Spain. Smugglers traded African slaves for molasses and sugar made into alcohol by distillers. Britain avoided the war in Poland (1733-35) by staying neutral. A copyright law protected artists such as the satirical Hogarth, and the Witchcraft Act was repealed in 1736. Highways were improved, and stage-coaches used more horses to go faster. In 1737 the government began censoring plays. Potatoes grown in Scotland helped peasants. The British went to war against Spain again in the fall of 1739. The British lost 10,000 men at Cartagena in 1741, and Walpole resigned in 1742. Britain made a defense treaty with neutral Russia. Despite opposition the wheeled shuttle was used to improve weaving. The Society for the Promotion of Christian Knowledge founded many schools. Scurvy killed hundreds of sailors, but in 1764 James Lind advised that citrus fruit prevented that.
      In March 1744 France declared war on Britain, and in 1745 the British allied with Austria, Saxony, and the Netherlands against Russia. Jacobites rebelled again in Scotland and invaded England. They retreated to Scotland and were defeated in April 1746. Many rebels were severely punished. The Whig ministry won the election of 1747. The British and French fought each other in Europe, America, India, and at sea until they made peace in 1748. Britain’s debt increased from £48 million to £77 million. In 1750 Britain allied with Austria and Russia against Prussia. In September 1752 Britain joined most of Europe by changing to the more accurate Gregorian calendar called New Style (NS). London was the largest city in the world with 725,000 people, and coal-burning polluted the air. British laws placed hurdles on getting married or divorced. England built many canals and had 2,223 miles of them by 1790. Tories spent £40,000 on the 1754 elections. That year a British force led by George Washington clashed with the French in the Ohio territory, and a larger British force was defeated there in 1755. In January 1756 Britain allied with Prussia and declared war on France in May. Once again they fought on three continents. John Brown explained how trade helps property owners accumulate wealth. By 1759 the British had 95,000 men in the army and 80,000 in the navy. George II died in 1760.
      King George III was 21 when he succeeded his grandfather George II. He appointed five Tories and tried to rule without a party. Physician John Hill was the first to connect the use of tobacco with cancer. The British were mostly victorious in the Seven Years’ War, and in the peace treaty France ceded to them Canada and Ohio, some of the West Indies islands, and territory lost in India. Spain gave Florida to the British to get back Havana and Manila. Britain’s national debt had nearly doubled to £134 million, and the army was greatly reduced in 1763. With French in Quebec and Spaniards in Florida those new British colonies were not allowed to elect assemblies. John Wilkes accused Prime Minister Grenville of lying and bribery, and Wilkes was arrested and convicted of seditious libel. In 1764 the Sugar Act imposed customs duties on many goods. The British used 10,000 troops in forts to protect Indians on the American frontier. In 1765 the Stamp Act taxed legal documents, newspapers, and dice, and the Quartering Act required colonists to provide food and shelter for British soldiers. George III suffered from melancholy. American colonists refused to obey the Stamp Act, and it was repealed in March 1766. That year a bad harvest and higher grain prices caused food riots. In 1767 the government began regulating the East India Company, and Townshend’s Revenue Act imposed more customs duties on colonies.
      Massachusetts and other American colonies continued to protest British power. Parliament expelled Wilkes several times; but he kept getting elected and in 1771 became sheriff of London. Edmund Burke advised party unity, and Frederick North became prime minister in January 1770 and served for twelve years. British regiments occupying Boston were challenged by Sons of Liberty, and on March 5 soldiers shot at a mob, killing five. Burke proposed censuring the American policy. Farm enclosures were increasing. Editor William Smelie published the first Encyclopedia Britannica. Inventions improved the textile industry. Using coke aided blast furnaces. Parliament made destroying machinery a capital crime, but this would not stop a mob of 8,000 workers at Lancashire in 1779. Iron railroads were invented and were used in mines. James Watt made several advances for steam engines, and cotton imports to England multiplied by ten. Hannah More published Essays Addressed to Young Ladies in 1777, and Hester Capone wrote Letters on the Improvement of the Mind. England’s financial crash in 1772 spread in Europe. Economic stagnation increased the East India Company’s debt even though Clive had accumulated £234,000 in India. North made the state loan the Company £1,400,000, and the Tea Act of 1773 exempted them from paying re-export duties. After the Boston Tea Party in December tea shipments to America ceased. In March 1774 North’s Coercive Acts demanded compensation, and the colonial governor could transfer trials to England. Charles James Fox advised that countries should be run by the will of the governed, and Burke suggested getting rid of the odious taxes. In May Parliament closed the port of Boston and restricted the Massachusetts legislature. The first Continental Congress met in Philadelphia in September. The 1774 election favored North.
      In early 1775 efforts by the British to resolve the conflict over taxes failed, and Parliament’s act to restrain New England’s trade and fishing was extended to five more states on April 13. Six days later British soldiers were sent to confiscate weapons at Concord, Massachusetts, and local militia attacked them in Lexington, starting the war. Americans armed themselves, and a British army was sent to Boston. In July the second Continental Congress rejected North’s proposal and made George Washington commander-in-chief. Americans invaded Canada in August, and George III proclaimed a rebellion. The British blockaded American ports, and in February 1776 the British Prohibitory Act restricted Americans. On July 4 the American Congress declared independence and listed their grievances against British military tyranny that did not allow them representation. Each side won some victories in the war, but in February 1778 the Americans allied with France. Britain declared war against France in March and began raising taxes. In 1779 France allied with Spain which declared war on Britain in June. British forces won victories in the South, and in 1780 British naval forces defeated Spaniards. Parliament repealed discriminatory laws against Catholics, and 50,000 Protestants protesting it led to rioting in London. In November the British declared war on Holland for having supplied weapons to the French. After Cornwallis and 8,000 soldiers surrendered at Yorktown in October 1781, North wanted to end the war; but George III refused.
      North resigned in March 1782, and the new ministers opposed the war. An Irish convention demanded and gained more rights from the British. William Petty, Earl of Shelburne, became prime minister in July and applied Adam Smith’s theories to encourage trade. Peace was negotiated, and the Americans agreed to pay debts of English loyalists and to compensate Canada. The British withstood a long siege of Gibraltar, and in September 1783 at Paris the British, French, Spanish, and Americans signed a peace treaty which allowed France and Britain to have slave-trading bases in Africa. Britain gave Florida back to Spain. Britain had spent £100 million on the war. Young William Pitt became prime minister in December and developed the cabinet system. They began a national lottery in 1784, and a window tax was increased and made progressive. The India Act established a board to control the Company which still appointed officers in India. Richard Price published a book on the American Revolution and condemned the cruelty of the African slave trade. He noted that an African becomes free on British land. Scotland had a half million people, but less than three thousand elected their members of Parliament. In 1786 Britain made a commercial treaty with France that would last seven years. In May 1787 Warren Hastings was impeached for misgoverning Bengal, and the British started a settlement in Sierra Leone for 400 Africans liberated during the American war. In January 1788 they founded a penal colony in Australia. In July the British Parliament began restricting the slave trade. From 1680 to 1786 the English had transported more than two million Africans to America. Gibbon completed his Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. Also in 1788 a newspaper was renamed the Times of London. John Howard exposed prison conditions in Britain and other countries, and he suggested reforms in The State of the Prisons.
      Ireland suffered extensive poverty under British rule as 80% of their income went to England. They had to tithe to Anglican clergy even though five-sixths of the Irish were Catholics. The British made laws for Ireland, and Irish Catholics could not vote. Jonathan Swift was educated in Dublin and became dean of St. Patrick’s cathedral. He wrote in behalf of the Irish and criticized British exploitation. Thirty rich men controlled 178 seats out of 300 in the Irish Parliament. Many thousands of Irish emigrated to American colonies. In the worst famine in 1740-41 about 500 people died each day. In 1742 Handel’s Messiah premiered in Dublin. The philosopher George Berkeley also wrote about reforms needed in Ireland. Farmers fought against the extension of pasture land to increase cattle and sheep. More than 50,000 emigrated before the start of the American war. In 1775 the Catholics were 75% of those in Ireland, but they owned only 5% of the land. Repealing most of the Anti-Popery Act in 1778 removed restrictions on Catholics. The lawyer Henry Grattan led the effort in the Irish Parliament to make their own laws, and in 1782 they began sending bills to George III for his approval. Irish exports were nearly £3,000,000 in 1783.

British Enlightenment 1715-88

British Ideas and Culture 1648-1715

      The brothers John and Charles Wesley started an evangelical group at Oxford, and they were called “Methodists.” In 1735 they went to the colony Georgia and were influenced by Moravians. George Whitefield persuaded John to preach outside at Bristol in 1739 to a large crowd, and John Wesley founded the United Society of Methodists in London to avoid evil and do good. He traveled extensively in the British Isles and preached more than 40,000 sermons, begging and giving to the poor. He published Rules for Methodists in 1743. John also wrote books and edited A Christian Library in fifty volumes. He preached universal love for all people. Methodists began holding conferences in 1758, and in 1763 they started a Preachers’ Fund. He taught, “Do all the good you possibly can.” By 1767 there were more than 25,000 Methodists, and John sent missionaries to America in 1769. He criticized the use of alcohol, slavery, wars, and belief in predestination. He objected to forcing religion on children, but he supported the charity school movement and Sunday schools. He published a book on remedies for diseases. Charles Wesley wrote lyrics for many hymns.
      William Law was ordained an Anglican priest but lost his fellowship for refusing to take an oath to George I in 1714. Law also taught universal love and helping the poor, and he published books on Christian perfection.
      Francis Hutcheson taught moral philosophy at Glasgow University and was one of the first to lecture in English. He criticized the selfish philosophies of Hobbes and Mandeville. Hutcheson argued that the “moral sense” is the motive for virtuous actions and that our ideas of rights come from this benevolence. In his book on emotions he described such senses as self-consciousness, beauty and imagination, a public sense, a moral sense, a sense of honor, and a sense of humor. In his System of Moral Philosophy Hutcheson wrote that the best action is what produces the greatest happiness for the most people and that the worst action is what causes the most misery.
      In response to rational Deists in 1736 Joseph Butler published The Analogy of Religion, arguing that acts have consequences which may be foreseen. He believed that the example and teachings of Jesus can guide the moral decisions of Christians. In an essay on virtue he noted that reason and conscience enable humans to discern good and evil, and he considered veracity and justice essential.
      Richard Price believed that people have six duties to God, self, goodness, gratitude, truth, and justice. He held that senses are perceptions and that the faculty of the understanding discerns truth, reasons, judges, and creates new ideas. Virtue makes one esteemed, loved, and happy. Price also worked on probability, and he developed a scientific system for determining life insurance and old-age pensions. His book on thenational debt persuaded the elder William Pitt to establish a sinking fund to reduce it. In February 1776 Price published a pamphlet on the war with America that he believed was unjust, dishonorable, impolitic, a violation of the British constitution, and that it would fail; 60,000 were sold in six months. He explained the value of physical, moral, religious and civil liberties that involve self-direction or self-government.
      David Hume was a skeptical and empirical philosopher, but he also wrote extensively about morals. He recognized that moral judgment enables us to differentiate between the deformity of vice and the beauty of virtue, and this teaches us our duty and helps us develop good habits. His first moral principle is benevolence, and what is useful to people is justice. Laws and regulations help humanity, and justice also requires fidelity, veracity, and integrity. He observed that the confederated commonwealths of the Swiss and the Dutch have maintained their unions. Social virtues recognize that public interest may outweigh self-interest and gain approval. Hume’s social virtues are justice, fidelity, honor, allegiance, chastity, humanity, generosity, bravery, charity, affability, kindness, mercy, and moderation. His personal virtues include discretion, industry, frugality, chastity, magnanimity, caution, enterprise, good-sense, discernment, temperance, patience, constancy, perseverance, forethought, consideration, presence of mind, quickness of conception, and facility of expression. Hume rejected monkish “virtues” such as celibacy, fasting, penance, mortification, self-denial, humility, silence, and solitude as not helping oneself or others. Hume’s ethical philosophy is secular and is not based on religion or theology.
      Samuel Johnson was infected by tubercular milk as an infant that caused defects and pain throughout his life. He struggled to get an education and was a voracious reader, learning Latin and Greek. He also translated French. He wrote a biography of Paolo Sarpi and translated his History of the Council of Trent. He opposed the Whig policies of great landowners and wealthy merchants. From 1740 to 1743 Johnson published accounts of Parliament’s debates, and he described the large library that was sold to Parliament. His former student David Garrick produced his tragedy, Irene. In 1749 Johnson’s poem, “The Vanity of Human Wishes,” made him famous. He wrote 204 articles for The Rambler to convey moral lessons, praising virtue, piety, patience, and cheerfulness while criticizing pride, anger, envy, sorrow, love of money, and capital punishment. He spent nine years compiling his Dictionary of the English Language, defining 42,773 words and including about 116,000 quotes. In 1756 he criticized the British and the French for mistreating Indians in America. In 1758 he wrote “Of the Duty of a Journalist” which is to tell the truth and to retract mistakes. As “The Idler” Johnson wrote that 20,000 people were in prison for debt, and about 5,000 died each year because of poor conditions. In his “European Oppression in America” a native chief warns his people of contracts with powerful strangers. In 1759 Johnson published his most popular work, Rasselas, Prince of Abyssinia, in which the prince and his sister Nekayah leave a happy valley to learn about other societies in India, Persia, and Europe. They end up in Egypt and discuss many issues. Finally Nekayah decides that knowledge is best, and she founds a college for women. After learning about French prisoners, Johnson wrote about the value of charity for refugees to lessen the miseries of war. In 1764 he began dining regularly with the painter Joshua Reynolds, Edmund Burke, and Oliver Goldsmith, and young James Boswell wrote the most famous literary biography. Johnson annotated Shakespeare’s plays and wrote prefaces to works of 52 English poets.
      Adam Smith attended the University of Glasgow and was influenced by Hutcheson. He went to Oxford and lectured there on law, government, and economics. He taught moral philosophy at Glasgow University and in 1759 published his Theory of Moral Sentiments. He contrasted the social passions based on love to selfish passions, and he believed that moral sentiments are corrupted by desire for more money or success. He noted that the virtues of prudence, charity, generosity, gratitude, and friendship can guide conduct, but justice is most important. Smith visited France and was influenced by the physiocrat Quesnay. In London for five years he associated with Samuel Johnson’s circle of friends. In 1776 Smith published An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations which influenced the British government. He began by noting that labor supplies all the necessaries and conveniences of life. The division of labor has improved production, and invented machines make work even more efficient. Free competition lowers the natural price. He noted that Britain had laws to keep wages from being raised but not to prevent them from being lowered. The poor have more children than the wealthy. A favorable balance of trade creates more wealth. Trade is advantageous, though not equally to both. Government has the duty to protect people from violence, administer justice, and maintain public services. Taxing luxuries has advantages. He observed that most public debt is caused by the financing of wars.
      Alexander Pope was raised as a Catholic and was trampled by a cow when he was about 12, deforming his body for life. He learned Latin, Greek, French, and Italian. He wrote philosophical and satirical poetry in English, publishing his Essay on Criticism in 1711 and his mock-epic, The Rape of the Lock, by 1714, attempting to resolve a feud between two Catholic families. He earned much money by translating Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey, and his poem Eloisa and Abelard appeared in 1717. Pope’s greatest work is his often-quoted Essay on Man which is also in rhymed couplets. He completed this poem in 1734 and revised it before his death in 1744. In 1762 it was published in five languages, and several more translations followed. He wrote,

All are but parts of one stupendous whole,
Whose body Nature is, and God the soul. (267-8)
All Nature is but Art, unknown to thee;
All Chance, Direction, which thou canst not see;
All Discord, Harmony not understood;
All partial Evil, universal Good:
And, spite of Pride, in erring Reason’s spite,
One truth is clear, Whatever Is, Is Right. (289-94)
   Know then thyself, presume not God to scan;
The proper study of Mankind is Man. (II:1-2)
Sole judge of Truth, in endless Error hurled:
The glory, jest, and riddle of the world! (17-8)

British Novels and Plays 1715-88

British Ideas and Culture 1648-1715

      Daniel Defoe was a Dissenter and was one of the merchants who supported war against France and went bankrupt. He became a journalist and during his life wrote for 27 periodicals. All but two of his many works were published anonymously. He did use his name on An Appeal to Honor and Justice in 1715. Defoe’s articles criticized social follies and advised ethical reforms. His “Wise Sayings” of 1720 show his warnings about vices and violence. In 1723 he published “On the Insufficient Causes of Great Wars.” In The Political History of the Devil he exposed Christian atrocities such as the Crusades, the Inquisition, and powerful leaders of recent wars. He noted that trade made the British prosperous, though it was usually based on crime. He suggested how to reform insane asylums and prevent the corruption of the youth and servants. In 1719 Defoe published his realistic Adventures of Robinson Crusoe about a mariner who survives alone on an island. After this success he wrote two sequels and other novels and a history about pirates. His novel Memoirs of a Cavalier is based on numerous histories and memoirs, and many took it as an authentic account during the Thirty Years’ War and the English Civil War. In the novel Captain Singleton the protagonist becomes a pirate and takes on a Quaker surgeon who advises more civilized behavior. The Misfortunes of Moll Flanders includes her difficult childhood, being a whore, five marriages, stealing, and being sent to Virginia where she eventually becomes rich and repents. Colonel Jack is another extraordinary adventure of a man who has five marriages, steals, finds that treating slaves with kindness works better, and fights in the War of the Spanish Succession and the Jacobite rebellion of 1715. In Defoe’s last novel, The Fortunate Mistress, Roxana narrates her story. She marries with a dowry but discovers her husband is a fool. She bears children to different men who are respectable, but she has difficulty retaining her wealth.
      Jonathan Swift became Dean of St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Dublin, criticized exploitation of Ireland, and is most famous for his satirical novel Gulliver’s Travels(1726). Swift used his imagination to create ridiculous situations. Gulliver survives a shipwreck in the South Seas and finds himself tied up by tiny people. The Lilliputians give him hospitality and teach him their language, and he helps them defeat their enemy. His size requires them to work hard to feed and clothe him. He escapes and returns to his family. Near North America he discovers giants in Brobdingnag, and now sees the opposite viewpoint. He tells them about Britain, and they are disgusted by its vices. Gulliver is carried away by an eagle and rescued at sea. He goes to sea again as a surgeon and visits the flying island of Laputa where they are obsessed with astronomy. On an island he finds scientists conducting endless experiments. At Glubbdubdrib sorcerers communicate with the dead. He leaves his wife again and finds primitive Indians in the South Sea called “Yahoos” who are governed by intelligent horses, the Houynhnhnms. Again Gulliver criticizes his English society, and he admires the virtues and good culture of the Houynhnhnms. They see he resembles the Yahoos and persuade him to leave. When he gets home, he makes friends with horses.
      Samuel Richardson became a printer and published the journals of the House of Commons in 26 volumes. He was a friend of Samuel Johnson, the painter Hogarth, and David Garrick. After being commissioned to write Familiar Letters he wrote epistolary novels. Pamela, or, Virtue Rewarded (1740) was satirized by Henry Fielding and Eliza Haywood. Letters by various characters express different points of view. Pamela is a young servant. After her master makes sexual advances, she tries to go home but is detained on a country estate. The local minister falls in love with her. Eventually her master agrees to marry her, and she is recognized for her virtue; her morality has lifted her above her class. Most of Richardson’s long novel Clarissa was published by 1748. The libertine Robert Lovelace is attracted to 18-year-old Clarissa and persuades her to elope with him, but he takes her to a brothel. She refuses to marry him, and he imprisons her. Her family disowns her. She escapes but is persuaded to return. Prostitutes help Lovelace rape her. Clarissa escapes again, but the madam has her arrested for not paying rent. John Belford gets her out of jail and asks her to marry him. Although Lovelace wants to marry her, she starves herself to death. She was betrayed by her family and her suitor, but she nevertheless retained her virtue. In another long novel Richardson portrayed an honorable man in Sir Charles Grandison (1753-54), and he hoped that his novels are instructive. The young heiress Harriet Byron is abducted by Hargrave, who wants to marry her, but Charles Grandison rescues her and refuses to duel. Harriet falls in love with Charles who is engaged to the Italian Clementina, but she refuses to become an Anglican. Charles returns to England and marries Harriet who inherits Hargrave’s estate.
      Henry Fielding wrote plays until his Historical Register satirizing Prime Minister Walpole caused the Haymarket Theatre in London to be closed. After mocking Richardson’s Pamela, Fielding wrote the comic novel Adventures of Joseph Andrews (1742), drawing on his life experiences. In A Journey from this World to the Next he described what happens to souls after their bodies die. Those who helped others are allowed to enter Elysium, but the others are sent back to be reincarnated. He also wrote the novel Jonathan Wild about the infamous criminal who had been hanged in 1725. As a boy Jonathan picks pockets and then moves on to stealing and cheating. He marries but soon quarrels with his wife. Fielding wrote in opposition to the Jacobite rebellion of 1745. His most famous novel,Tom Jones, was published in 1747-48. He hoped that humor would persuade people to give up their vices. Tom tries to overcome his illegitimate birth and pursues Sophia with several ironic adventures. Fielding became a justice of the peace, and his novel Amelia is intended to advance social reform. He suggested that living is an art and that virtuous action is the cause of good fortune. Amelia marries Col. Booth, and they manage to overcome their challenges and have a good life.
      Tobias Smollett studied at the University of Glasgow and after serving in the Royal Navy became a novelist. He translated two French novels by Lesage, Gil Blas and The Devil upon Crutches, and the works of Voltaire in 35 volumes. His translation of Don Quixote in 1755 was popular. Smollett’s autobiographical novel, Adventures of Roderick Random, is in the style of Defoe. Roderick becomes a surgeon’s mate on a man-of-war. He is robbed more than once and falls in love and eventually discovers his father, marries, and lives on his estate. Smollett’s novel, The Adventures of Peregrine Pickle, is also a picaresque romance that satirizes morals. Two love affairs and writing a satire result in his going to jail. His last novel, The Expedition of Humphry Clinker, is letters by six characters. Humphry preaches like a Methodist which wins over Tabitha and her maid Winifred. Unjustly arrested, he converts prisoners and the jailer. Humphry finds his father and marries Winifred.
      Samuel Johnson helped Oliver Goldsmith get his novel, The Vicar of Wakefield, published. The vicar, Dr. Primrose, narrates the story of his family. He is charitable and favors monogamy. The family works together from dawn to dusk, and after dinner they talk. His daughter Olivia elopes, and a fire destroys their property. Primrose is sent to debtors’ prison where he finds his son George accused of attempted murder. They are released, and the three daughters get married.
      Henry Mackenzie’s first novel, The Man of Feeling, was published in 1771 and was popular. In this sentimental story Mr. Harley is an orphan who was raised by an unmarried aunt. He secretly loves his neighbor. He wants to lease land to rent it and is cheated in a card game. He has no money but tries to help a hungry prostitute. He meets an old soldier and lets him work on his farm. Harley learns his neighbor is engaged and becomes ill. She visits him, and he admits he loves her. After his death she does not marry. Mackenzie’s Julia de Roubigné is another tragic romance, but in this novel he makes a strong appeal to abolish slavery.
      Frances Burney published her epistolary novel Evelina anonymously in 1778, and it describes manners and social conflicts experienced by a young lady. Evelina visits London but is embarrassed by her less sensitive friends. She manages to meet Lord Orville without them, and he asks her to marry him, which she does after complicated relations are clarified.
      In 1714 Richard Steele was appointed a justice of the peace and became supervisor of the Drury Lane Theatre. His last play, The Conscious Lovers, was produced in 1722, and was performed 491 times in the 18th century. Steele modernized Terence’s The Woman of Andros as a complicated romantic comedy ending in two marriages.
      John Gay made and lost a fortune investing in South Sea speculation. His most famous play, The Beggar’s Opera, was produced in 1728 with ballad music satirizing Italian opera. Mr. Peachum fences for thieves, and his daughter Polly has married the robber Macheath who gambles, drinks, and whores. Macheath is hanging out with eight women. Jenny Diver and Suky Tawdry inform Peachum that Macheath has lost his money gambling, and Peachum has him arrested. In prison Macheath wants to marry Lucy Lockit, and he persuades her to help him escape. Lucy tries to poison Polly. Macheath has been betrayed and is to be executed. Four women with children arrive to see Macheath, but in the end he chooses Polly. This early musical comedy portrayed London’s underworld.
      George Lillo also wrote a ballad opera, but he is famous for The London Merchant, a sentimental melodrama produced in 1731. He believed that moral tragedy could help correct the criminal and encourage virtue. George Barnwell is an apprentice for the merchant Thorowgood whose only child is Maria. Immoral Sarah Millwood seduces Barnwell and urges him to steal from the merchant. Barnwell confesses to Thorowgood that he is a thief. He intends to renounce Millwood, but she says she needs money and gets him to steal again. Maria learns that Barnwell has embezzled from her father. Barnwell goes to Millwood who will not see him unless he robs and kills his rich uncle. Barnwell stabs his uncle who forgives him as he dies. Barnwell goes to Millwood who hides him but castigates him for not robbing. She turns him in, but Millwood’s servants have her arrested. Both are sentenced to death, but only Barnwell repents and prays for her.
      Goldsmith’s comedy, She Stoops to Conquer, was successfully produced in 1773 and takes place in one night at the home of rich Mr. Hardcastle and a nearby alehouse. Hardcastle hopes that his daughter Kate will wed Marlowe who prefers lower-class women, and so Kate pretends to be a maid to conquer. Marlowe and Mr. Hastings go to see Kate and her cousin Constance but find themselves at an alehouse where they meet Hardcastle’s stepson Tony who sends them to Hardcastle’s home telling them it is an inn. Hardcastle offers hospitality but is treated as a servant. Marlow falls for Kate. Tony offers to help Hastings run off with Constance by getting the jewels for them. Hardcastle tells Marlowe and his drunk friends to leave. Marlow rejects Kate because of the class difference. Marlowe’s father arrives. Marlowe learns that Kate is Hardcastle’s daughter, and Hardcastle approves the marriage.
      Richard Brinsley Sheridan’s wrote plays, and his father managed a theater in Dublin. His first play, The Rivals, opened in London in 1775. Captain Jack Absolute pretends to be an ensign to woo the romantic heiress Lydia Languish. Jack’s father Anthony gives his son six hours to win Lydia who has two other suitors. Mrs. Malaprop is criticized for her misuse of words that are funny but have subtle meaning. Lydia is upset by the deception and renounces Jack. Malaprop has sent letters by “Delia” and almost causes a duel. Lydia agrees to marry Jack because he would fight for her. Sheridan’s best comedy is The School for Scandal (1777), which is another romantic comedy complicated by the gossip of characters such as Sneerwell, Snake, Teazle, Surface, Candour, Backbite, and Crabtree.

France of Louis XV and XVI

France during the Reign of Louis XIV

      During the youth of Louis XV the Regency Council was led by Duke Philippe II of Orléans from 1715 to 1723. At first he deployed soldiers in the streets and released hundreds of prisoners from the Bastille. Regent Philippe and the child Louis XV ratified decisions of the Parlement. The French government had a large deficit but was at peace and reduced the army to 25,000 men. About 4,000 people were convicted of corruption, but little of the fines were collected. In 1717 France allied with Britain and the Dutch and signed a treaty with Russia and in 1718 allied with Austria. Philippe allowed John Law to start a private bank and issue notes, and he set up the Mississippi Company. Parlement reluctantly went along. The French Company of the West began transporting slaves to American colonies, and New Orleans was founded. Families were given incentives to emigrate, and convicts were also transported to Louisiana. In 1719 Law’s bank took over African and East Indies companies and the national debt. Law became Controller-General of Finances, and millionaires emerged. The paper money caused inflation, and about 30,000 people moved to Paris. French merchant ships multiplied and expanded trade. Law lowered interest rates, and in May 1720 he tried to devalue share prices and banknotes by half. The bank closed, and a riot in July killed some people. Parlement met away from Paris, and Law fled in November. In 1721 gold became the only currency, and about 500,000 people lost money on the notes. Montesquieu’s Persian Letters satirized the fiasco. An attempt to assassinate Philippe had provoked France to declare war on Spain in January 1719. Louis-Auguste, Duke of Maine, organized nobles in Brittany, but the army suppressed the rebellion. Maine and his wife were imprisoned but were pardoned in 1720. Dubois negotiated an alliance with Spain. By 1722 France’s debt had tripled since 1715. Parlement declared Louis XV of age in February 1723, and Philippe died in December.
      Bishop Fleury had tutored Louis XV and then retired. In 1725 Louis XV married Polish princess Marie Leszczynska, and in June 1726 he recalled Fleury and began ruling himself. Fleury repealed the tax on clergy and was made a cardinal. While his wife was bearing ten children, Louis had mistresses and hunted daily. Fleury made most decisions, tolerating Protestants but banning Jansenists. He managed to avoid war and allied with Britain and Spain in 1729. He imposed the Unigenitus law and imprisoned dissenters. Parliament tried to claim authority but failed, and they compromised in December 1732. The French tried to make the Queen’s father Stanislas Leszczynski the King of Poland in 1733, and France declared war on Austria in October. In May 1734 the French occupied Lorraine and then attacked the Austrians in Lombardy. Stanislas fled to Danzig; but the French could not hold the port and began negotiating with Austria in October 1735, and a treaty was signed in 1737. Stanislas governed Lorraine under France. The Abbé de Saint-Pierre published a plan for universal peace, and he urged political education, public welfare, and progressive taxes. Despite poor harvests causing France to lose a sixth of the people in 1738-41 better health and fewer wars allowed the population to increase to 28 million by 1788. Peasants were 85% of the population but owned only a third of the land. A treaty with Prussia’s Friedrich II got France into war against Austria in May 1741. A French army invaded Bohemia with Bavarian allies and captured Prague in November, but an Austrian siege drove them out in December 1742. Fleury died in January 1743.
      In June 1743 French forces were defeated at Dettingen. Louis XV formed a Family Compact with his uncle Felipe V of Spain in October, and in 1744 France allied with Prussia and went to war against Britain and Austria. In 1745 Louis made the Marquise of Pompadour his new mistress, and he spent the rest of his life in his palaces. She entertained Fontenelle, Montesquieu, and Voltaire, and Louis talked with her almost every day. She started her salon attended by Diderot, d’Alembert, Hélvetius, Turgot, and other philosophers. She started a theatre and performed in Molière’s plays. French forces defeated the British and their allies at Fontenoy in May and conquered the Austrian Netherlands in the war that went on until October 1748 when the treaty at Aix-la-Chapelle gave back the territory. France spent about one billion livres on the war. In 1749 France imposed a 5% tax on all incomes. Hanging a Protestant preacher at Montpellier led to another wave of Huguenot migration in 1752. That year Parlement condemned discrimination against dissenters and banned it in Paris. King Louis ordered grain stored as a reserve for famines, but high prices caused starvation. In May 1753 Parlement suspended its services, and the Royal Council issued lettres de cachet that exiled the Paris Parlement.
      Conflicts between the British and French began in 1754. Cardinal de La Rochefoucauld found a way to avert civil war by recalling the Parlement, and the Unigenitus controversy was finally resolved in December 1756. That year France allied with Austria and continued to fight the British. A royal lit de justice compelled Parlement to double the 5% tax on income in August to pay for war against Prussia. Friedrich II’s smaller army defeated the French in Saxony in November 1757. France gave subsidies to Russia, Sweden, Saxony, and Austria. Prussian and British allies defeated a larger French army at Krefeld in June 1758. The Sorbonne condemned the atheistic De l’esprit (On the Mind) by Helvetius, and the Parlement had it burned. In April 1759 the French were victorious over the British and Germans near Frankfurt, but they lost at Minden in August. The French were also losing at sea and in America, and Parlement added a third tax of 5% on income and one on luxuries in September. In July 1761 German and British allies defeated a French army of 90,000 men. The French began negotiating, and finally in February 1763 the Seven Years’ War was formally ended. France lost their colonies in North America but retained a few sugar-producing islands.
      In 1764 Parlement reduced the income tax to 10% and added a stamp tax. Jansenists criticized the Jesuits, and Louis XV suppressed the Jesuit Order in November. Freeing the grain trade enriched landowners but caused food riots. Starting in 1762 the French government monopolized political news for the next 25 years. Madame de Pompadour died in 1764 and left behind her valuable library. Choiseul became the King’s most trusted advisor, and he aimed to improve military training and build up the navy. After the death of Stanislas Leszczynski in February 1766 France annexed Lorraine. Louis XV learned that studying newspapers is better than using spies. In 1768 Genoa paid its debt by ceding Corsica to France. In September young Maupeou was appointed Chancellor. Bad harvests hurt the economy, and in 1769 Voltaire’s History of the Paris Parlement criticized its reactionary policies. Maupeou blocked financial reforms in the Royal Council. Madame du Barry became the King’s mistress. Choiseul ended the monopoly of the Company of the Indies, and French colonial trade expanded. In the French West Indies about 20 million Europeans owned more than 160 million African slaves, and their trade greatly increased French incomes. In December 1770 Louis dismissed Choiseul and took over foreign policy. Those in parlements demanding communication were purged in 1771. Much literature was seized from print shops including the Encylopédie, but opponents secretly published more anonymous pamphlets than the government. Louis XV died of smallpox in May 1774, and Louis XVI had himself inoculated.
      Physiocrats believed in agriculture, and they favored free trade and a liberal economy. Quesnay persuaded Louis XV to abolish tolls on grain and urged improving roads, rivers, and canals. He and the elder Mirabeau advised taxing landowners more than farmers (peasants) and getting popular consent on taxes. Morelly advocated the communism of early Christianity, and his Code of Nature included the principle “from each according to one’s ability and to each according to one’s needs.” Mably wrote many books and suggested replacing competition with cooperation.
      Louis XVI succeeded his grandfather in May 1774 before his 20th birthday, and he had married Archduchess Marie Antoinette in 1770. He forbade collecting the coronation tax even though the national debt was 235 million livres. The practical physiocrat Turgot knew eight languages and had been governing as Intendant of Limoges and was admired for relieving famines. In August 1774 he moved from being Navy Minister to Controller-General, and he decreed free trade in grain except in Paris. In November Louis XVI recalled the parlements and increased their authority, lifting press censorship for a while. Bad weather caused hunger in 1775, and Turgot implemented reforms. The price of bread led to riots near Paris in April. King Louis lowered the price, and 25,000 soldiers stopped the plundering of bakeries. Turgot reduced spending and borrowed from Dutch bankers. The Count of Saint-Germain became War Minister and reformed the military.
      In January 1776 Turgot abolished forced labor but only for seven months. France loaned one million livres to the Americans fighting the British in May, but Turgot was dismissed for opposing this. Maurepas persuaded Louis to appoint the Genevan banker Jacques Necker to direct the Royal Treasury. Marie Antoinette supervised weekly balls. In 1777 the Journal de Paris became France’s first daily paper, but the Chief Almoner banned it. Navy expenditure increased to help the Americans, and the writer Beaumarchais bought weapons. Ben Franklin persuaded France to recognize the United States of America by December 1777, and they made a treaty in February 1778. Britain declared war on France which reciprocated. In April 1779 Spain joined France against the British, helping the French navy dominate the English Channel by August. The church assembly gave 30 million livres to France’s treasury. Necker ended serfdom and torture of prisoners. A second twentieth tax on income was imposed for five years. The French navy helped General Washington trap the British army of Cornwallis at Yorktown in October 1781. Necker established the Hospital Administration and published his Account for the King. American War expenses made the annual deficit 46 million livres. Necker resigned, and after a naval defeat in April 1782 Parlement levied a third twentieth tax for three years. In September 1783 a treaty formally ended the war that cost France 853 million livres.
      The Paris Parlement resisted reforms, and by 1787 France had borrowed another 635 million livres. After delay and censorship The Marriage of Figaro by Beaumarchais opened in April 1784. The comedy satirized nobles and was very successful, and Mozart wrote music for the opera. Nobles were one percent of the population but owned a quarter of the economy. Improvements in agriculture, mining, manufacturing, and finance were increasing French incomes. In a half century food prices increased 60% while inflation reduced purchasing power by 20%. Land rents doubled as the rich got richer. More food with corn (maize) and potatoes increased population. Sugar was imported from the colonies, and Parisians consumed ten pounds a year, causing weight gain and tooth decay. French Masonic lodges multiplied by twenty in 45 years as they worked on goodwill, social welfare, and self-improvement. Marie Antoinette was sold a fake diamond necklace and had the King’s almoner Cardinal Rohan arrested. A crowd protested, and he was acquitted but sent into exile. Pamphlets affected the Queen’s reputation. In 1786 Louis XVI approved a graduated land tax to help the common people. When a counterfeit racket was exposed, a speculative bubble burst, causing unemployment. Some worked fifteen hours a day and spent 60% of their wages on bread.
      Lavoisier improved street lighting and gunpowder. He transformed chemistry by identifying sulfur, oxygen, and hydrogen, and in 1785 he explained that water is a mixture of oxygen and hydrogen gases. He recommended legumes and introduced potatoes and beets. His wife helped him in the lab and translated works by Priestley and Cavendish. The philosopher Condorcet condemned slavery and urged abolition in 1781. He believed in scientific progress and hoped that moral sciences would also advance by using mathematics and reasoning in regard to actions and consequences. He opposed torture and punishing imaginary crimes of religion and private morals, and he advised limiting the death penalty. He suggested voting by ranking. He applauded France’s support for American independence and favored the expansion of human rights based on equality and freedom of the press as in America which he urged to end slavery.
      France convened the Assembly of Notables in February 1787. La Fayette suggested convening the Estates General, and this proposal gained broad support. The Notables were dismissed in May. In June the Parlement agreed to free trade in grain and cancelled the corvée. Parlement objected to a new land tax and was exiled for a month. Then they agreed to impose two twentieth taxes for five years. France’s 700,000 Protestants were given civil status but neither freedom of religion nor access to office. In February 1788 the Society of Friends of the Blacks was founded to oppose the slave trade. An edict eliminated 173 positions from the Queen’s household. The Old Regime’s last budget estimated a deficit of 126 million livres. Chancellor Lamoignon de Malesherbes cancelled Parlement’s judicial and legislative powers on May 1. One week later Finance Minister and chief of the Council Brienne reorganized the high courts and replaced the parlements with 47 new courts. Uprisings erupted in Pau, Rennes, Grenoble, Brittany, and Dauphiné. On June 20 the Royal Council declared the nobles’ assemblies illegal. In July a terrible hailstorm wiped out agriculture in central France, and the Paris stock market dropped sharply. On August 8 Brienne agreed to convoke the Estates General on May 1, 1789, and he reduced the interest paid on treasury bills to 5%. On the 16th he declared France’s government bankrupt, and nine days later Louis XVI dismissed him and recalled Necker. On September 11 he summoned the Estates General to meet on January 1, 1789, and on the 23rd the King recalled the parlements. People rejoiced so wildly that several were killed or injured.

French Enlightenment

France during the Reign of Louis XIV

      Montesquieu published his philosophical novel, Persian Letters in Amsterdam in 1721 in which an Usbek visiting Paris writes letters to his Persian friends about the French. In the satirical “Myth of the Troglodytes” Arabians kill a foreign king. Then people follow their selfish interests, and calamities have devastating results without mutual aid. Only two virtuous families survive. Montesquieu visited England and was influenced by the Tory Bolingbroke, and he became a Freemason. In 1734 Montesquieu wrote about the grandeur and decadence of ancient Romans that inspired Gibbon to write about the decline of the Roman Empire. He also wrote a novel about the reincarnations of a soul. Montesquieu published his influential Spirit of the Laws in 1748. He believed that God created laws to preserve humans. Lack of equality leads to wars, but laws of nations can prevent or minimize wars. Monarchies rely on honor while republics depend on virtue. Truthful people are free. Those who love equality are frugal and moderate to help the poor. People love freedom and rise up against despotism and violence. Democracy is vulnerable to inequality, and aristocracy is corrupted by power. Swiss and Dutch confederations have republican states. Montesquieu’s most influential idea is that the legislative, executive, and judicial powers of government are better for freedom and justice when they are not combined in the same persons. He noted that the Ottoman Empire was oppressive because the Sultan united all three powers. Yet Montesquieu still favored a monarchical executive and hereditary nobles as part of the legislature.
      Voltaire satirized the Regent Philippe and spent a year in prison writing, but his tragedy Oedipus about incest was successful. The Regent rewarded him for his epic poem La Henriade about King Henri IV. After being imprisoned again Voltaire was allowed to go to England where he read Locke, Pope, Swift, and Shakespeare. His letters on the English were published in London and France, and he described Quakers and the Church of England. Louis XV suppressed Voltaire’s History of Charles XII for a while. His romantic tragedy Zaire portrayed the crusade led by St. Louis IX and was popular. Voltaire invested his money and avoided prison. His tragedy Alzire showed how Spanish Christians and Incas are different. He corresponded with Prince Friedrich of Prussia. Voltaire criticized Muhammad, and his play about him failed. He wrote a libretto for the romantic ballet La Princesse de Navarre with music by Rameau. In 1745 Voltaire was appointed historiographer of France, and Madame Pompadour helped him get elected to the French Academy.
      In 1747 Voltaire published his philosophical novel Zadig about a Persian who seeks wisdom and defends the innocent. In 1750 La Voix du sage et du peuple criticized the Catholic Church and was banned. Voltaire visited Friedrich II but failed in his attempt to take advantage of devalued banknotes. He published his Age of Louis XIV in 1751. After defending a law professor Voltaire moved to Geneva where his plays were banned. His epic poem, The Maid of Orléans, about Jeanne d’Arc was made popular by pirated editions, and his edition in 1762 was banned as scandalous for a century. He spent twenty years writing a history of the world and published it in 1756 as his Essay on the Customs and the Spirit of Nations in seven volumes. In 1757 he wrote “Geneva” for Diderot’s Encyclopédie, and Rousseau criticized Voltaire in 1758. Voltaire’s famous novella Candide or Optimism came out in 1759. Dr. Pangloss teaches the philosophy of Leibnitz to Candide who witnesses much suffering in his adventures, but Pangloss maintains his optimistic philosophy. Candide suggests that they cultivate their garden. Socrates in Voltaire’s play is accused of being a heretic, a deist, and an atheist, but Socrates tells the judges there is only one God who is infinite. He says the essence of religion is morality. He discusses the immortality of the soul before drinking the hemlock.
      Voltaire had his tragedies Tancrède and Olympia produced. He worked on various reforms and in 1763 published his Treatise on Tolerance, but he also warned of the dangers of tolerating fanaticism that enslaves the mind. The next year he published his Portable Philosophical Dictionary which was eventually expanded to ten volumes. He criticized Rousseau, wrote a commentary on Beccaria’s On Crimes and Their Punishment, and discussed Montesquieu’s Spirit of the Laws. Voltaire emphasized justice in his “Instructions for a Royal Prince,” criticizing the unproductive church, luxury, and war. He noted that religion was being purified in the last two centuries, and he wanted Parlement to have more legislative power. Famous for saying, “If God did not exist, he would have to be invented,” he nonetheless believed that God is “a supreme intelligence.” He blamed Christianity for killing nearly a million people, and he noted that those who kill many people (in war) are not punished. Yet in 1771 he wrote that reason was establishing its reign. In 1777 he published Le Prix de la justice et de l’humanité, suggesting alternatives to revenge and punishing beggars. Foundling homes can save the lives of infants. He considered it barbaric to execute people for theft, heresy, and sorcery, and he advocated free speech and writing. He praised nations that abolished torture. Before dying in 1778 he expressed his love for God and friends, hating not enemies but superstition. In his life he wrote 15,284 letters and about fifteen million words. Condorcet praised Voltaire for many reforms and helping people to use the light of reason.
      Jean-Jacques Rousseau left home before he was 16 to wander, work, and learn. He lived with Madame de Warens and read works by Voltaire, Pufendorf, Addison, La Bruyère, Virgil, Horace, Juvenal, Roman historians, Plato, Descartes, Locke, Leibniz, Montaigne, Pascal, Marivaux, Prévost, and Racine. He learned music and began teaching it to girls, and he composed an operatic drama about Columbus and the opera Les Muses Galantes. He worked as secretary for the French ambassador in Venice, and his friends included Diderot, d’Alembert, and Condillac. Rousseau fell in love with a laundress, and she bore him five children who were given to an orphanage. He suffered from kidney stones that made him uncomfortable in social situations. In 1750 his Discours sur les sciences et les arts won a prize and was published, arguing that society corrupts human nature to benefit the rich. He observed that moral integrity was not keeping up with sciences and arts, and he noted several civilized empires that fell. He believed luxuries corrupt good morals. He favored the rise of women and urged their education. Virtue is found by listening to one’s conscience, and he was disgusted by the atheism of some philosophers. He believed that inequality fosters excessive wealth and is the main source of evil. To be great one must master oneself. Rousseau declined royal patronage and lived simply copying music, and his opera The Village Soothsayer made him 5,000 livres. Because he preferred Italian music, the French police spied on him, and so he moved to Geneva in 1754.
      Rousseau’s Discourse on Inequality was published in France. He especially criticized moral and political inequalities that gained social approval. He found spirituality in human liberty and self-improvement. He described how societies began by adding mutual interest to self-preservation. Having property ended equality, and agriculture and metallurgy brought revolutions. By exploiting others some became rich, and the aggressive poor robbed. War arose, and rules tried to institute justice; but laws gave the rich more power and destroyed natural liberty. Others united, causing more wars. People followed chiefs and princes, and slavery violated nature. Leaders became hereditary and arbitrary until revolution overthrows government. The state may warn against foreign domination to oppress people. The privileged enjoy luxuries while most struggle to live. He advised communities to serve each other. Rousseau’s Discourse on Political Economy was published in the Encyclopédie and suggested remedies for the injustices of inequality. These included equal rights and duties, respect for the general will, public education for all children, and an economic system that provides public services by taxing excess wealth, inheritances, and luxuries. The voice of the people is the voice of God and creates the general will. Government can protect life, liberty, and property of all people, but rulers and administrators must serve the public interest. No one is above the law. He warned that severe punishment multiplies crime, but the state using less power is more peaceful. Virtue cooperates with the general will. The public protects the weak. Only free people with mutual respect have human dignity. What is most difficult is protecting the poor from the tyranny of the rich. Taxes should have the consent of the people’s representatives.
      In 1761 Rousseau published his essay on Saint-Pierre’s “Perpetual Peace.” He argued that a federal government could unite the nations under law, he cited the federal systems of the Germans, Swiss, Dutch, and the ancients. He noted that Europeans share the history of the Roman Empire, Christianity, geography, blood relationships, commerce, colonies, arts, and printing. Yet frequent violence has marred European history. Treaties were unstable, and there was little agreement on laws. Nations used might to make right. Yet boundaries were fairly stable since 1648, and no nation was strong enough to conquer all others. Rousseau believed that the federation should have a congress of all powers, binding laws with a rotating presidency, coercive force to control violators, and no state could withdraw. Causes of wars could be eliminated as justice replaced force, saving on military expenses, preventing destruction, and freeing trade. Rousseau’s critique of Saint-Pierre’s project explaining why it was not adopted was published after his death in 1782, and he predicted that a violent revolution was likely.
      Rousseau from his experiences with women wrote the epistolary romantic novel Julie that became popular. Also in 1761 he published Emile, his revolutionary book on educational theory. He advocated awakening inner goodness by learning naturally from direct experience. He was influenced by Locke and admitted that his ideas were considered visionary. The human condition should be studied for self-preservation by observing nature. The soul is master of the body and practices hygiene. Reason and conscience helps us understand good and bad. Focus on what is within your power. Freedom is better than authority, and learning by experience leads to happiness without punishment. Morality is not harming anyone. Reason and judgment develop gradually. Children feel pity and joy, and they learn to be sensitive to others. Moderation makes people free, and equality is natural. They should study facts and learn how to evaluate. One becomes good by doing good.
      In 1762 Rousseau published The Social Contract, and it was released in Paris in May a week before Emile which Parlement condemned in June. Copies of The Social Contract were burned publicly in Geneva, but Rousseau escaped. He found that people were not free but argued that they could achieve civil freedom by accepting the social contract directed by the general will. He believed that all should have something and no one too much. Common interest and justice unite people in equality. A republic is governed by laws in the public interest, but private interests can corrupt lawmakers. Democratic governments change more easily. Citizens value freedom and human needs while subjects want secure possessions. Responsive government provides for the general welfare. Rousseau wrote a democratic constitution for Corsica and another for Poland. He wrote an honest account of his life in his Confessions, but police stopped his public readings.
      Diderot became friends with Rousseau, and copies of his Philosophic Thoughts were burned in 1746. Diderot was imprisoned for three months in 1749, and Rousseau visited him. Diderot worked with d’Alembert and others on the famous Encyclopédie that began in 1751. D’Alembert was influenced by Condillac and explained how the Encyclopedia could develop and spread knowledge ofsciences, arts, and trades. The wise value justice and other virtues that oppose the vices. Agriculture, medicine, and other arts were developed to serve human needs. Mathematics is useful as are the liberal arts of grammar, logic, and ethics. Studying history enables us to understand different cultures, governments, and laws. D’Alembert and Diderot related history to memory, philosophy to reason, and poetry to imagination. In a few years the Encyclopédie expanded to twenty million words in 60,600 articles and eleven volumes of illustrations. In the article “Natural Right” Diderot affirmed that the general will is always good. In the Encyclopédie” article he argued that it collected knowledge useful for the future, and he observed that philosophy in his time was advancing knowledge so that reason can replace the influence of authority and tradition. In 1759 the Paris Parlement condemned the Encyclopédie and blocked its publication; but illustrations came out in 1762, and the last ten volumes of text were printed for 4,000 subscribers in 1766. After Bougainville’s circumnavigation of the globe Diderot wrote a dialog between a chaplain and a Tahitian about the differences of their cultures. Russia’s Ekaterina II helped Diderot, and he visited her for five months in 1773 and shared his innovative ideas. Several French writers suggested the idea that animals evolved.
      Diderot’s first novel was erotic and comical. Later in life he wrote The Nun based on a hoax involving forged letters of a woman trying to free herself from a nunnery. The novel was not published until a dozen years after his death. The story describes the plight of a young woman sent to a convent by her parents who wants to leave but has trouble trying to do so. Diderot also did not publish his novella, Rameau’s Nephew, but Goethe translated it into German and published it in 1805. Diderot narrates the story and converses with the composer’s nephew on morals. His novel, D’Alembert’s Dream, is another conversation, and it was not printed until 1830. Diderot, d’Alembert, Mlle. de L’Espinasse, and the physician Bordeu mostly discuss metaphysical issues and in the sequel sex. Diderot’s novel, Jacques the Fatalist and His Master, was published the same year as The Nun and includes romantic, bawdy, and comical stories. Diderot asked the readers which way the story should go as the servant Jacques calmly accepts his destiny.
      Prévost was a religious Benedictine and wrote several novels and translated Richardson’s novels. His most famousManon Lescautcontrasted good sentiments with bad actions and was banned. He hoped to instruct people in ethics while entertaining them. Duty and passions are in conflict. Young Grieux falls in love with Manon, but she has other affairs, making him jealous.
      Laclos was a military officer and wrote and published one extraordinary novel, Les Liaisons Dangereuses, in 1782. Insightful sexual intrigues described in 175 letters made the book scandalous and very popular. The Marquise de Merteuil and the Vicomte de Valmont have become lovers, but they compete with each other in seductions and manipulation. In 1783 Laclos published an essay on the education of women. He criticized men for trying to control everything and corrupting everything. He advised that being happy comes from desiring nothing. Men subjugated women who are burdened by children. Laclos blamed General Vauban for wasting money destroying and rebuilding forts, and his military career suffered.
      Bernardin de Saint-Pierre became a military engineer and was influenced by his friendship with Rousseau. He is best known for his novel, Paul and Virginia. Paul and Virginia are not related, but they are raised as close neighbors on an island by two families that share everything. They live close to nature and learn morality from the Gospels.
      Le Sage translated Spanish plays and wrote picaresque novels. Asmodeus is about a demon who takes young Cléofas flying to witness many situations, but in the morning Cléofas realizes he was dreaming. Lesage’s Gil Blas is a long picaresque and realistic novel. Young Gil is robbed on his way to a school and becomes a thief and learns from various experiences. He gets a job and marries. Gil Blas becomes a secretary for Spain’s prime minister, the Duke of Lerma, and he learns how to sell favors. Lesage’s best comedy was Turcaret. The financier Turcaret is dishonest and tries to take advantage of others, but his valet Frontin is even more manipulative.
      Marivaux was influenced by Italian commedia dell’arte and wrote romantic comedies. In Double Infidelities the good-hearted Silvia and Arlequin are in love but are caught up in court intrigues involving their servants, the Prince, and Flaminia. In The Triumph of Love Princess Léonide and her maid Corine disguise themselves as men as Léonide tries to regain her throne usurped by her uncle.
      Beaumarchais wrote popular comedies that were turned into operas. In The Barber of Seville the barber Figaro manages to help the Count disguised as the student Lindor woo and win Rosine. Beaumarchais helped raise a million livres to loan the Americans fighting for independence in 1776, and he arranged for Voltaire’s complete works to be published before his death in 1778. He overcame the objections of Louis XVI to get his comedy, The Marriage of Figaro, produced in 1784, and it was very successful. The Count wants to exercise his right of the Seigneur, and Figaro aims to figure out how to avoid this and still get the dowry the Count promised to Suzanne, the maid of the Countess.

Southern Europe 1715-88

Southern Europe 1648-1715

      At the end of the War of the Spanish Succession 1701-14 Spain lost control over much territory in the southern Low Countries as well as in Italy and the islands of Sardinia, Sicily, and Minorca. King Felipe V made Catalans citizens in order to slow migration to France. In 1717 he declared war against the Austrian Emperor Charles (Karl) VI, and Spain took back Sardinia and Sicily. In 1719 Britain and France went to war against Spain. A year later Spain agreed to expel Cardinal Alberoni and allied with Britain, France, Austria, and the Dutch, agreeing to pull its forces out of Sardinia and Sicily. The Spanish Inquisition was revived in 1720, and in the next five years more than ninety Jewish conversos were executed. In 1725 Spain allied with the Austrian Empire. Queen Isabel helped the declining Felipe V rule. Spain made a treaty with Austria in 1731 that enabled Prince Carlos to become Duke of Parma and Piacenza. The Bourbon’s first Family Compact between Spain and France was signed in 1733. In 1734 Carlos went to Naples, and his forces conquered Sicily in 1735. The Emperor recognized these, and Carlos ceded Parma and Piacenza to the Empire in 1737. Another war broke out between Spain and Britain in 1739, and Spanish taxes were raised in 1741. Spaniards invaded Italy and Savoy in 1742. Spain renewed its alliance with France in 1743, but they retreated from northern Italy in 1744. Genoese helped Spaniards take Milan in December 1745, but Spain withdrew from Parma in 1746, the year Felipe V died. King Fernando VI’s Queen Barbara of Braganza promoted diplomacy, and Spain agreed to the peace of 1748. In 1750 Spain paid Britain £100,000 to stop selling slaves in their colonies, and Spaniards took over colonial administration. In 1753 Spain paid Pope Benedict XIV 2.5 million pesos for complete patronage. In 1754 King Fernando VI had the corrupt Ensenada arrested. Spain under Fernando and Barbara was neutral during the Seven Years’ War. Fernando raised revenues and left behind a surplus at his death in 1759.
      Carlos III ruled the Spanish empire from 1759 to 1788. He renewed the family alliance with France during the Seven Years’ War, and in 1762 Britain declared war against Spain and Naples. After the Portuguese refused to fight the British, a Spanish army of 40,000 men invaded Portugal. The British navy outnumbered Spain’s and captured Havana and Manila; but these were regained in the 1763 treaty in exchange for Florida while France ceded Louisiana to Spain. The periodical El Pensador (1761-67) included social criticism. Spaniards reacted against the reforms of the Italian minister Esquilache, and he fled in 1766. King Carlos made adjustments, returned his court to Madrid, and replaced Italian ministers. The number of clergy in Spain began to decline. The French enlightenment influenced Spain but caused conflicts between beliefs and reason, and the government limited papal power. In 1767 a commission judged the Jesuits, and King Carlos expelled them from Spain and its colonies. In 1769 Spain began reforming its universities, and textbooks were required to be based on science. Chief minister Floridablanca appointed ministers based on merit. Carlos III granted toleration to Protestants and Muslims by 1779 but not to Jews. Spain went to war against Britain again in 1779 and besieged Gibraltar for nearly four years. In 1782 Spain took back Minorca and made a treaty with the Turks. In the peace treaty of 1783 Spain regained Florida.
      King Joao V ruled Portugal from 1707 to 1742 when a stroke resulted in Queen Maria Anna of Austria being regent until his death in 1750. In 1715 the Gazeta de Lisbon became Portugal’s first regular newspaper. Portuguese troops helped the Austrian Empire defeat the Turks in 1716. Joao V received much revenue from gold and diamonds mined in Brazil, and he had palace libraries built. Joao’s son José I ruled Portugal from 1750 to 1777. In 1751 the Inquisition was restricted. Foreign Minister Carvalho maintained Portugal’s monopoly over its trade with Brazil. In l755 a tremendous earthquake and tidal wave devastated two-thirds of Lisbon. Merchandise was taxed to pay for rebuilding. In 1756 Carvalho began governing Portugal as prime minister, and he banished or imprisoned those accusing him of corruption. He freed the Indians in Brazil. He closed a Jesuit university, but in 1759 he instituted free grammar-schools. The Portuguese Inquisition was active in the 1750s. In 1758 King José was attacked by men and wounded, and a year later the Jesuits were expelled from Portugal. Carvalho also reformed the police, and in 1761 he banned bringing slaves into Portuguese cities. In 1762 Portugal allied with Britain against the Bourbons, and the British sent troops to aid them against the Spanish invasion. A Board of Censorship was created in 1768 that banned books by Locke, Hobbes, Spinoza, Voltaire, Rousseau, and Diderot. The slave trade declined after 1771, and in 1773 the children of slaves in Portugal were freed. Laws based on “purity of blood” were abolished. As gold imports declined in the 1770s, exports increased with mercantilist policies. In 1777 José was succeeded by his daughter Maria and her husband Pedro III. She dismissed Carvalho (Pombal) and released 800 political prisoners. Maria and Pedro ended privileges based on heredity and tradition, ruling as “enlightened despots.” The Portuguese Church became independent of Rome.
      Sicily was given to the Duke of Savoy in 1713, but it was hard to govern. In 1718 Spanish troops invaded Palermo and fought the British before surrendering in 1720, and another treaty gave Sicily to the Austrian Empire. Sicilians resented German-speaking governors, and from 1722 to 1734 they were governed by Spanish viceroys. King Carlo of Naples took over Sicily in 1734. In 1759 Sicily came under the Spanish Regency Council. A bad harvest in 1763 resulted in the death of 30,000 people. In 1773 another failed harvest led to a revolt in Palermo. Exports that had been limited were stopped. In 1777 Viceroy Stigliano encouraged trade. Viceroy Caracciolo (1781-86) suppressed the Inquisition and feudal privileges and imposed a tax on carriages.
      The Austrian Empire held Naples 1707-33. France and Spain promised Naples and Sicily to Prince Carlos, and he was named Spanish commander in Italy. At the age of 18 he claimed the Two Sicilies, and his armies defeated the Austrians in 1734. In 1735 he was crowned King Carlo of Naples and of Sicily. He promoted manufacturing and trade. He welcomed Jews in Naples in 1740, but the barons banned them again in 1747. Naples fought invading Austrians in 1743-44. Fifteen titled families owned three-quarters of all feudal lands in Naples. The Abbé Antonio Genovesi promoted science, agricultural reforms, and redistribution of property. When Carlo left to become Carlos III in Spain, his minister Bernardo Tanucci led the government for 8-year-old King Ferdinando. Naples suffered from a famine in 1764. Tanucci expelled 600 Jesuits in 1767. Ferdinando married Austrian archduchess Maria Carolina, and her salon supported intellectuals; but Ferdinando outlawed Freemasons and dismissed Tanucci. Yet he founded the Academy of Science and Literature in 1780. Lethal earthquakes in 1783 stimulated reforms. Vico taught at the University of Naples and is known for his Principles of a New Science concerning the Nature of the Nations. He described the ages of history from mystics to heroes to patricians and plebeians to feudalism and to a more humane era of equality under laws. He warned against science and technology producing a materialistic culture, and he emphasized the value of divine wisdom.
      In January 1715 Pope Clement XI began working to aid Venice in the war declared by the Turks by sending money and military forces. Rome now had a weekly papal newspaper. He also sent 400,000 florins to the Austrian Empire and let Venice and Spain tax ecclesiastical property. During the imperial siege of Belgrade 60,000 people died. Clement XI condemned Spain for conquering Sardinia in 1717, and he suspended the taxes in Spain. The Pope made a treaty with Spain in 1721 before his death. Innocent XIII (1721-24) supported the Stuart pretender to the British throne. Pope Benedict XIII performed consecrations and founded a university, but he allowed financial corruption and opposed the Jansenists. Clement XII (1730-40) restored papal finances and invested in building and art. He condemned Locke’s writing and Freemasons but sent missionaries to Ethiopia. Pope Benedict XIV restored the King of Portugal’s patronage and condemned slavery in colonies. He was neutral during the War of the Austrian Succession, and Maria Theresa confiscated ecclesiastical benefices. Benedict promoted agriculture and trade while reducing taxes and military spending. He improved the education of priests and cut back feasts. He was a scholar, wrote extensively, and founded the Vatican museum. Clement XIII (1758-69) condemned the French Encyclopédie and defended the Jesuits, but Clement XIV approved the suppression of the Society of Jesus in 1773. Pope Pius VI appointed a council of cardinals to make reforms and would serve ably for 24 years.
      Gian Gastone, inherited a bankrupt Tuscany but made useful reforms to help the poor and Jews. In 1731 a Spanish army occupied Tuscany. In 1735 Austria, France, Britain, and Holland gave Tuscany to Maria Theresa who married Francis of Lorraine. Tuscans resented the Lorrainers. The Medici line ended when the Palatinate Electress Anna Maria died in 1743. Francis was Austrian Emperor 1745-65. Then his son became Grand Duke Leopold II of Tuscany until 1790. Pompeo Neri had returned to Florence in 1758, and he led reforms inspired by Enlightenment philosophers.
      The Austrian Empire ruled Lombardy 1715-96. Nobles owned nearly half the land, and the Church had 22%. Taxes were reformed toward property owners in 1757. Pietro Verri wrote Elements of Trade in 1760, and the wheat trade was freed in 1773. Many innovations came to Milan in 1786. Genoa faced rebellions in Corsica and ceded the island to France in 1768. The dukes of Savoy governed Sardinia after 1720, and Charles Emmanuel III abolished serfdom in 1771.
      Cesare Beccaria of Milan was influenced by Verri and published On Crimes and Punishments in 1764, and it was soon translated into several languages. Beccaria advised using the principle of the greatest happiness for the greatest number, and he believed that kindness and humanity can justify authority. He criticized cruel punishments and squalid prisons. He observed that published laws reduced atrocities in Europe. Torture causes false confessions. Detention before trial should be brief. Fines are proper for crimes against property. He opposed the death penalty and argued that penal servitude for life deters. He also criticized imprisoning debtors. He noted that bounties encourage violence. Good legislation, enlightened liberty, and improved education prevent crimes. He concluded that punishments should be minimal, proportionate, and established by law. In 1781 Beccaria proposed a decimal system of weights and measures.
      The Ottoman Empire declared war against Venice in December 1714, and European Christians supported the Venetians. The Austrian Empire joined the effort in 1716, and their army defeated the Turks at Petrovaradin in August. After the siege of Belgrade in 1717 the Turks retreated. Venice gained stable borders in the 1718 peace, enabling the development of culture and entertainment. After a report on Church wealth in 1767 Venice sold off monasteries. Venice tolerated Christian sects, Jews, and Muslims. The University of Padua attracted cosmopolitan scholars. Venice had a republican government, but 42 families dominated. Venetians celebrated most of the year.
      Goldoni was born in Venice and was especially influenced by commedia dell’arte and Molière. He excelled at writing realistic comedies such as Servant of Two Masters and The Mistress of the Inn (Mirandola), showing the hidden power of servants and women. His La Casa Nova depicts problems of the middle class. Goldoni moved to Paris in 1761 and tutored Louis XV’s daughter Adelaide.

Austrian Empire and Prussian Militarism 1715-88

Germanic Empire 1648-1715

      As a result of treaties in 1713 and 1714 the Austrian Empire included not only Hungary, Croatia, Bohemia, and the southern Low Countries but also Naples, Milan, Mantua, and Sardinia, and they were at peace with the German Empire misnamed the “Holy Roman Empire” which Voltaire later quipped was none of those three words. In 1715 the Dutch were allowed to garrison the Belgian frontier. The Austrian imperial army fought against the Turks 1716-18, and the empire was extended into northern Serbia, eastern Slavonia, and Little Wallachia. Austrians fought off Spanish attacks and took over Sicily, giving Sardinia to Savoy. Emperor Karl VI consolidated his rule over Hungary in 1722. In 1732 he named Franz of Lorraine to govern there, and Protestants were restricted or emigrated. In the War of the Polish Succession (1733-38) Austria lost control over southern Italy, Milan, and Lorraine but gained Parma and Tuscany. In 1736 Karl’s daughter Maria Theresa married Franz who governed the Austrian Netherlands. Austria allied with Russia against the Turks in 1737, but they lost northern Serbia in that war. In 1740 Maria Theresa succeeded her father, but Prussia, Bavaria, France, Spain, Saxony and Poland attacked her empire. Prussia took over Lower Silesia. Hungarians and others helped the Austrians, and their imperial army took back Prague. In 1745 Austria allied with the British, Dutch, and Saxons. Franz was elected Holy Roman Emperor. After Prussian victories Maria Theresa made peace. French forces took over Brussels, Antwerp, and other towns but gave them up in the treaty that ended this war in 1748. Austria lost parts of Italy but held on to Tuscany.
      The war had ruined Austria’s finances. Empress Maria Theresa tried to make some reforms. Revenues increased, though the Hungarian Diet refused to pass a tax for that war. Tariffs protected industries, and the government bureaucracy grew. Censorship banned Jesuit publications and Protestant books. Aristocratic landowners did well, but lesser nobles lost tax exemption and political power. In the 1750s peasants revolted in southern Hungary, Slavonia, and Transylvania. Chancellor Kaunitz governed 1753-92 and applied principles of the French enlightenment while the Empress promoted Catholicism and sexual morality. In the Seven Years’ War the Austrian Empire allied with France and Russia against the Prussians, and their imperial army increased to 250,000 men; but the Austrians did not gain or lose significant territory while the debt increased to 280 million florins. Several of Maria Theresa’s children made political marriages. Her son became Holy Roman Emperor Joseph II in 1765, and she made him co-regent. Austria taxed highly Hungarian manufactures and exports. Criminal laws were reformed in 1769. In 1772 the Austrian Empire annexed Polish Galicia in the first partition of Poland. Joseph contributed 19 million florins to reduce the state debt and lowered interest on its bonds to 4%. They banned gambling and hunting. He traveled to learn about his empire. Educational reforms were boosted by funds confiscated from the Jesuits in 1773. Elementary schools used local languages and were compulsory. Peasant labor service was reduced. Joseph and Kaunitz struggled against Maria Theresa’s religious intolerance to relieve Protestants. The Austrian army invaded Bavaria in a short war that cost 100 million florins.
      In 1780 Joseph II succeeded his mother as Austrian Emperor. He was influenced by Beccaria and other philosophers, and he began implementing various reforms. He allied with Russia and visited Louis XVI. He took control over bishops and greatly extended religious tolerance. He dissolved abbeys and religious orders but retained those teaching and caring for the sick. Funds gained were used for education and helping the poor. Joseph II abolished serfdom in Bohemia and Moravia and then in Inner Austria and Galicia. In 1785 he abolished serfdom in Hungarian crownlands. He replaced Latin as the official language of his kingdoms. However, after a Belgian revolt in 1787 he imposed political censorship. He improved the legal system, and he implemented a new civil code in 1786, and a new criminal code based on equality in 1787 using Beccaria’s ideas. That year Austria fought against a Turkish invasion. Vienna was a center for great musicians including Joseph Haydn, Gluck, and Mozart who promoted ideas of Freemasons in The Magic Flute.
       The thirteen Catholic and Protestant cantons of the Swiss Confederation had made peace in 1712 with equal rights for both faiths; but in 1714 the French and Austrian Emperor secretly favored Catholics in a treaty, and the Confederation renewed its defensive alliance with France in 1715, allowing peace for eighty years. The Swiss Diet acted only by unanimity. The Austrian empire influenced the Swiss, and in 1777 the Confederation renewed its defensive alliance with France which was most favored for trade until 1781. The Swiss developed industries and specialized in clocks. Independent Geneva was French and Calvinist, and burghers gained more power in 1738. Rousseau’s books were influential but were burned there in 1762. In 1782 French troops intervened to restore the government and cancel the burghers’ rights. An attempt to overthrow ruling families in Bern failed in 1749. Uri took over Levinental in 1755. Freiburg compromised with nobles in 1782. The Swiss still served as mercenaries in other countries, and Anabaptists, Mennonites, and Amish emigrated. Swiss education was limited to the wealthy and influential. Bern formed the Swiss Economic Association and the Natural Science Society. Leonhard Euler published 80 volumes on natural science.
      Vattel was influenced by Leibniz and Wolff, and he published his Law of Nations in 1758 to promote political liberty, justice, and mutual aid among nations and to diminish wars. He believed that the people are sovereign and have the right to change the constitution and that dissenters are free to emigrate. No nation should meddle in another. He defined and discussed a nation’s liberties, rights, and duties. He condemned Europeans for attacking American nations. He argued that human conflicts should be settled by justice and equity, not by force. Unjust wars cause crimes and disasters. Other nations may be justified in uniting to discipline the offending nation.
      Pestalozzi joined the Helvetic Society and worked to improve education with experimental schools for children of peasants. He was especially influenced by Rousseau’s ideas and emphasis on feelings. Pestalozzi believed that justice comes from love and is the basis for freedom. Wisdom comes from self-knowledge, and he believed that God is the source of human welfare. He beganpublishing Leonard and Gertrude in 1781.
      Major German states in this era included Bavaria, Württemberg, Hanover, Saxony, Liechtenstein, and many other smaller states somewhat united under the Emperor Karl VI (r. 1711-40). Friedrich Wilhelm ruled Prussia and Brandenburg from 1713 to 1740. He was autocratic and increased taxes in order to pay officials. In 1716 the Merchants Guild in Berlin barred Jews and criminals. He favored the military and with Saxony, Poland, Hanover, Denmark, and Russia fought against Sweden in the Northern War that ended in 1720 with most of Pomerania added to Prussia. He made schooling and later military service compulsory. Prussians participated in the War of the Polish Succession, but Friedrich Wilhelm sent money instead of troops to the imperial army in the Turkish War in 1736-39. In 1740 his army had 83,000 men.
      Christian Wolff wrote German Ethics and German Politics by 1721, but in 1723 Friedrich Wilhelm dismissed him from the University of Halle for criticizing religion. Wolff then wrote on psychology and natural theology in Latin for Europeans. Friedrich II became king in 1740 and made Wolff professor of law and chancellor at Halle. Wolff wrote on ethics and natural law including The Law of Nations. He believed that nations should unite in a democratic state to promulgate laws for the good of all. Nations like people should be equal before the law. He argued that retaliation is unjust and suggested compensation and treaties.
      Friedrich II obtained a liberal education and ruled Prussia 1740-86. When Maria Theresa became Empress of the Austrian Empire in 1740, he invaded Silesia. He allied with France and voted for the Bavarian Karl Albrecht as emperor. By 1744 Friedrich increased the army to 140,000; but when Saxons opposed him, Friedrich retreated. In 1745 his Prussian forces were victorious in Bohemia and Saxony, and a peace treaty was made with Austria and Saxony. Friedrich II was influenced by Voltaire and d’Alembert. He had canals built and marshes drained, and he improved the quality of judges. Prussia allied with the British in January 1756, and Friedrich II began the Seven Years’ War in Europe by invading Saxony in August. His army met the imperial army of Austria in Bohemia. In 1757 the French attacked Hanover. Sweden invaded Pomerania, and Russians attacked East Prussia. Friedrich’s army defeated the French and Austrians in Saxony and drove the Austrians out of Silesia. In 1758 Prussians invaded Moravia but were defeated. Friedrich fought Russians in Brandenburg, and a large Austrian army defeated the Prussians in Saxony. In 1759 Russians overcame Prussians in Brandenburg, but British and German allies defeated the French and Saxons at Minden. Both sides suffered when Russians with Austrian allies fought Friedrich’s Prussians in Brandenburg. In 1760 Russians and Austrians briefly occupied Berlin. In 1762 Russia’s Petr III and Sweden made peace with Friedrich; but the British ended their alliance with Prussia, and so did Russia’s Ekaterina II. Prussians defeated Austrians in Saxony. In 1763 a peace treaty ended the war that cost Prussia about 100 million thalers.
      After the death of Poland’s August III in 1763 the Russians allied with Prussia. Friedrich allowed burghers privileges and exempted them from military service. Prussia gained territory from Poland along with Russia and Austria in 1772. Bavaria’s lavish court expenditures led to a large debt, and in 1778 Austrian troops occupied Bavaria. Then Prussians invaded Bohemia and tried to survive on potatoes. In the treaty of 1779 Prussia and Austria gained territory from Bavaria. Moses Mendelssohn’s On the Civic Improvement of the Jews was published in 1781. Germany had 217 newspapers. Prussia began to implement a new Law Code in 1785. The ecclesiastical state of Mainz had been bankrupted by the wars; but their Archbishop-Elector imposed reforms, and Mainz supported the League of German Princes that formed in 1785. Basedow gained the support of monarchs to publish his Elementary Book in four volumes with pictures on school reform in 1774 and to start a school.

German Enlightenment

      Moses Mendelssohn educated himself by studying the great Jewish literature and recent Christian philosophers. Lessing helped him get published. Mendelssohn focused on feeling for beauty and harmony and the virtues of the soul, and he believed that freedom leads to moral perfection. Justice comes from God and teaches us what is good. He revived the immortal ideas of Socrates in Plato’s Phaedo. The soul’s immortality implies future perfection. Stoicism is controlling emotions rationally, though physical appetites may cause conflicts. Death liberates the soul from the body, and all good comes from God. He criticized religion that excludes people, and he defended the rights of Jews and promoted their scripture. His Jerusalem, or on Religious Power and Judaism was praised by Kant. He appealed to reason more than to punishments or rewards. Yet the social contract gives the state power. Mendelssohn wrote about God and the soul, and his last work was sent to Lessing’s friends.
      J. S. Bach and other Germans made great contributions to music. Lessing’s parents and schooling helped him to learn several languages, theology, philosophy, and science. He worked as a journalist and began writing spiritual plays, and he preferred Socrates to Plato and Aristotle. Lessing translated works by Voltaire who was involved in financial fraud in Germany. Lessing studied Luther and analyzed Christianity critically. He translated Calderon, Cervantes, Bruno, and Campanella. His ethics emphasized action and clear understanding. He believed that God is in everything but is also transcendent. Lessing became friends with Mendelssohn and wrote the romantic comedy The Jews. He collaborated with Mendelssohn and translated Hutcheson’s System of Moral Philosophy. Lessing worked as a secretary and wrote about early Christianity, and he agreed with deists. In his Laocoön he compared painting and sculpture to poetry and drama. He admired the beauty in Greek sculpture, and he argued that the purpose of the arts is to stimulate pleasure. Yet poetry and drama can better describe morality and its consequences. Lessing noted that religion is more than the literal Bible. He wrote conversations describing the contributions of Freemasonry that began in the 18th century. The best form of government is being created for all, notably in America. Lessing observed the differences between the teachings of Jesus in the Gospels and the Christian religion, and he accepted the ancient idea of reincarnation.
      Lessing pioneered German theater by writing satirical comedies and translating French plays. He was also influenced by English plays and novels. His Hamburg Dramaturgy challenged Aristotle’s dramatic unities of time, place, and action. His romantic comedy, Minna von Barnhelm was praised by Goethe and shows how financial dealings and honor relate to romance. His tragedy Emilia Galotti modernized the story of Virginia from ancient Rome and portrays a corrupt prince who causes harm. Lessing’s greatest play Nathan the Wise set during the Third Crusade was a tribute to Mendelssohn and presents the interaction of three religions represented by the Jewish merchant Nathan, the Sultan Saladin, and the Templar knight Conrad.
      Kant became a professor of philosophy at the University of Königsberg. He taught that morality is based on free will which enables us to discriminate between good and evil. He suggested that a universalizing principle tests the morality of an action’s intent by asking, “What if everyone does that?” Then justice based on conscience can rule the world. Kant described how knowledge works in his Critique of Pure Reason. He considered the transcendental ideas of God, freedom, and immortality essential to a moral life. He encouraged people to think for themselves because freedom will lead to enlightenment. Kant published his Foundation of the Metaphysics of Morals in 1785. Ethical laws are determined by the free will of rational beings. He believed the purest good is good will, and the purpose of reason is to guide the will toward the good of all which is practical love. Only good will can legislate universal laws. Being faithful to truth and benevolence have intrinsic value and dignity. The goal of humans is happiness, but desires and pleasures may lead one astray. The principle of human freedom means treating everyone as an end instead of a means. Kant published his Critique of Practical Reason in 1788. Free choice is essential to morality. The eternal soul enables us to work toward perfection. Only actions can be judged as good or evil. Universal love is to love God all and your neighbor as yourself. Virtue produces happiness.
      Lichtenberg left behind his perceptive and pungent Aphorisms. He and Herder were influenced by Kant. Herder was a preacher and a writer. His book On German Character and Art, stimulated a literary movement based on feeling. In 1772 he published his Treatise on the Origin of Language. In his Ideas for a Philosophy of the History of Mankind Herder described how humans are different from other animals. Humans appreciate music and art, and they can express their reason using speech. They can distinguish the true from the false and the beneficial from the harmful, enabling them to become like gods on the Earth. Herder described the human instincts of self-preservation and sympathy. Humans discovered rules of justice such as the golden rule of treating others as you wish to be treated. True beauty comes from moral integrity, and religion can exalt humanity.
      Goethe read widely and learned several languages. He studied law, pursued art, and collected folk songs for Herder. He began practicing law, and his biographical drama Götz von Berlichingen was successful in 1773. Götz fought in various battles and was often punished in his long military career, but the play shows him leading the peasants’ revolt about 1520 and then dying while young. Goethe’s next play, the romantic drama Clavigo, was not well received. However, his first novel The Sorrows of Young Werther, published in 1774 made him famous, stimulating suicides over romances. In this autobiographical novel Werther describes his romantic feelings. He becomes emotionally upset, and the author takes over the narration that leads to Werther sacrificing himself for the married woman he loves. Goethe had romances but never married. His romantic drama Stella caused controversy for its bigamous ending. In 1775 Goethe was invited to the Weimar court. He administered mines and forests and went on diplomatic missions. Goethe adapted Iphigenia in Tauris by Euripides and played Orestes in this drama portraying a noble woman. Goethe became a Freemason in 1780 and joined the Illuminati in 1783. In 1786 he went to Italy to paint. He returned to Weimar in 1788 and wrote his Italian Journey. That year Goethe completed his historical drama Egmont about events in 1567 and 1568. Egmont stands up for the rights of the people in the southern Netherlands against the Spanish rulers.
      Schiller studied religion and hoped to become a pastor but was sent to a military school. He was influenced by Goethe and played the title role in Clavigo. Schiller wrote an essay onthe physical and spiritual natures of man and became a physician. He wrote his famous “Ode to Joy” in 1784. He gave a brilliant lecture on theater which he felt harmonizes human extremes of passion and intellect with a sense of beauty to unite the heart and mind in noble entertainment. He suggested that theater can have more influence than morality or laws by exposing vice and virtue. He believed that plays could help correct opinions about government. His exciting play, The Robbers, was a sensation in 1782. A count’s oldest son Karl leads men to rob the rich in order to get money circulating. The robbers kill many and are surrounded by Bohemian troops. Karl disguised as a count visits his father and brother Franz who loves Amalia; but she loves Karl. Pastor Moser awakens the conscience of the skeptical Franz who frees the prisoners and helps the poor. Karl forgives his father. Amalia wants to die, and Karl turns himself in. Schiller’s play Conspiracy of Fiesco in Genoa is about a revolt. He wrote the tragicomedy Intrigue and Love to satirize the nobles. His long drama Don Carlos is about the Spanish prince in 1568. King Philip II is afraid of his son’s ambition. The wise Marquis of Posa warns the King that people will revolt. Posa advises Philip to arrest Carlos, hoping that Carlos will escape; but he does not, and Posa is killed. Carlos is to be executed. This play became the basis for five operas.

Northern Europe 1715-88

Northern Europe 1648-1715

      In the peace treaty at Utrecht in 1713 Spain turned over their long control over the Southern Netherlands to Karl VI and the Austrian Empire. Yet in the 1715 Barrier Treaties the Dutch were allowed to garrison several towns mostly near the western border, and the Austrians were obligated to provide revenues from Brabant and Flanders. Riots blamed on a guild leader in Brussels were suppressed in 1717. Karl VI’s sister Maria Elizabeth governed the Austrian Netherlands 1725-41. Austria’s East India Ostend Company started in 1722 but was suspended from trading in 1727. Austria let Prince Charles Alexander of Lorraine govern the Austrian Netherlands 1744-80. Industry increased, and roads were improved. The French invaded Brabant and Flanders in 1747 but withdrew in 1748. The Belgians then enjoyed peace as the Dutch stayed neutral during the Seven Years’ War 1756-63. In 1773 the Jesuit colleges were renamed the Theresian Colleges. Science and humanities developed as French textbooks were used. In 1781 Emperor Joseph II had the Barrier system dismantled. He ruled the Southern Netherlands from Vienna and promoted toleration of religious minorities while curtailing religious orders and pilgrimages. He designated intendants and commissioners to govern, and Austrians appointed judges. In 1787 revolts broke out supported by the Church, and Austria repealed many edicts.
      The War of the Spanish Succession left the United Netherlands with a large debt, and the interest on their bonds was lowered in 1716. The Dutch allied with Britain, France, and Austria against Spain, but did little fighting before the treaty at The Hague in 1720. Dutch financiers were caught up in speculative bubbles. In 1725 the Dutch Republic opposed Spain and Austria, and in 1726 the States General allied with Hanover against Prussia. In 1729 Friesland, Groningen, Drenthe, and Gelderland accepted Prince Willem IV of Orange as stadholder. The United Netherlands increased their army to 84,000 by 1743 but tried to stay neutral during the Austrian Succession War. In 1745 they allied with Britain, Austria, and Saxony, and the French invaded in April. Zeeland and more towns turned to Prince Willem IV of Orange as stadholder and captain-general, and by May 1747 he was Stadholder of all the Dutch provinces. Protestants attacked Catholics, and the States of Holland condemned both sides. In the turmoil tax collectors were targeted, and burghers and workers demanded reforms. In December 1748 Stadholder Willem and the States agreed on new rules. Holland’s debt rose sharply, and Willem IV died in 1751.
      Anne of Hanover became regent for three-year-old Prince Willem V, but the States General did not officially recognize her counselors. In 1756 the Dutch Republic declared its neutrality unless the French invaded England. Dutch bankers invested in both sides. Financial speculation caused the Dutch economy to crash in 1763 and in 1773. Willem V came of age in 1766 and married a Prussian princess in 1767. The Dutch sent weapons to Americans fighting for independence, and the British Navy attacked Dutch ships. In December 1780 the Dutch joined the First League of Armed Neutrality, and Britain declared war against them, capturing 200 Dutch ships the next month. In 1782 the Patriot movement arose in Holland, Utrecht, Gelderland, and Overijssel. In 1783 Dordrecht and Deventer organized Free Corps, followed by Utrecht in 1784. The Patriots opposed the stadholderate and the regents and wanted republican government. The Free Corps in many towns suppressed the Orangists. In June 1785 thousands of Free Corps militiamen met at Utrecht and then in Holland, and clashes occurred in The Hague, Rotterdam, Haarlem, and Leiden. Utrecht democratically elected a town council. Orangists controlled Zeeland, Friesland, and Gelderland. Patriots took over more towns in 1787. A Prussian army invaded the divided Dutch Republic in September and took Utrecht and then Amsterdam, enabling Willem V to return to The Hague and appoint a new Pensionary in Holland. Orangist mobs pillaged Patriots’ homes. In June 1788 the States General guaranteed the Stadholder, and Patriots fled from Holland. Prussia and Britain agreed to protect the Netherlands in December.
      In the later years of the Northern War (1700-21) Denmark defeated the Swedes, but they agreed to a treaty in 1720 and opposed Russia. Landlords in Denmark exploited the labor of peasants. Denmark’s King Frederik IV (r. 1699-1730) promoted public education, but he required church attendance. Then Kristian VI ruled Denmark and Norway until 1746. He also imposed his piety and burdened peasants, though he established elementary schools in 1739 and stayed out of wars. Frederik V ruled Denmark, Norway, and Schleswig-Holstein for twenty years until 1766. His Foreign Minister Bernstorff formed a neutral alliance during the Seven Years’ War. They allied with Russia in 1765 and made several trade treaties. Kristian VII suffered from dementia but tried to help the peasants. His German physician Struensee became the Queen’s lover by 1770 and the chief advisor issuing orders in German. In January 1771 the King discovered a plot and had Struensee, Queen Matilda, and others arrested. In 1772 Queen-Dowager Juliane Marie, her 18-year-old son Frederik, and professor Guldberg took over and governed. Danish was made the official language. Denmark-Norway allied with Russia against Sweden in 1773. In 1780 Denmark joined the League of Armed Neutrality and allied with Britain. Crown Prince Frederik VI became regent in 1784 and governed well with reforming advisors.
      Swedes invaded Norway in 1716 and again in 1718 but left after thousands died of sickness. In 1719 a Danish-Norwegian army captured Marstrand, but peace came to Norway in 1720. In 1729 merchants from Copenhagen gained a monopoly on Norway’s trade, and magnates took over the timber trade in 1733. Schools were improved in 1739, but Norwegians suffered from a famine and epidemic. Capitalists invested in toll bridges. In 1762 a new tax caused riots, and despite protests and a promise in 1765, it was not repealed until 1772. Norwegian exports increased during the American Revolution. Settlers in Iceland were abused by Danish merchants, but they began improving conditions under Skulli Magnusson in 1749. In 1770 a commission created new offices. In 1774 the government took trade away from the monopoly, and in 1786 freer commerce was allowed in Iceland.
      Even after he returned to Sweden in 1715, King Karl XII kept fighting until he was killed in 1718. His sister Urika Eleonora became Regent and ended absolute rule. In 1720 Sweden allied with Britain against Russia. That year she allowed her husband, Fredrik of Hesse, to replace her, and he governed Sweden until 1751. The four estates in the Riksdag selected the Council, but they excluded peasants from decisions. Sweden made a treaty with Russia in 1721. The Riksdag exerted more power in 1723, and in 1726 they imposed Lutheran orthodoxy. In 1731 the Swedish East India Company formed and began trading with China. In 1738 mercantilists became the Hats party, and they opposed the Caps. In 1740 Hats removed some Caps for treason. Hats took Sweden into war against Russia in 1741. In 1743 Swedes surrendered and gave up Finland. Peasants from Dalecarlia rebelled and were put down. Iron became 85% of Sweden’s exports. Linnaeus began the work of classifying species. Queen Louisa Ulrika’s attempt to rule failed in 1756. The Enclosure Act of 1757 increased productivity and enabled more peasants to own land. Sweden was allied with France in the Seven Years’ War and fought Prussians in Pomerania. The Caps won a majority in 1765 and reduced bureaucratic expenses, taxing luxuries. In 1766 Sweden abolished political censorship. The Hats regained power in 1768 and restored royal prerogatives, but they lost it again in 1771. In August 1772 Gustav III peacefully claimed royal power. He ended the parties’ power, but an offensive war still required consent of the Estates. France supported Sweden. Gustav had a Council to advise him. He freed the grain trade and limited alcohol production to save grain. He added two provinces in Finland. Gustav III summoned the Riksdag in 1778 to approve laws and taxes. He abolished torture and had witchcraft laws repealed in 1779. In 1781 Sweden recognized freedom of religion and welcomed Jews. In 1788 Sweden tried to take back Finnish provinces from Russia but failed.
      Swedenborg studied science and worked assessing royal mines. He wrote about natural philosophy, chemistry, devalued coins, trade, and mineralogy. He taught that everything has a cause except the infinite and began to write about the immortal soul. In 1734 he opposed war with Russia. His anonymous books explained his spiritual perceptions of souls and angels. He communicated with a departed soul at his funeral, and he described how souls find a community after death. He noted that one loves what one intends. A person is free to commit good or evil; but God can free people from hell if they give up their evil. Spiritual love is for God and others, but sensual love is for the world and oneself. In 1770 the Royal Council condemned his writings, and his books were confiscated in Sweden.

Eastern Europe 1715-88

Eastern Europe 1648-1715

      During the Northern War (1700-21) the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth lost a quarter of their population. Saxony’s August II ruled as King of Poland-Lithuania from 1710; but after a Russian army of 30,000 troops came to Warsaw in 1716, August II removed his Saxon army. The Russians dominated the Sejm (parliament), and Poland-Lithuania was allowed only a small army. Protestants’ rights were restricted, and they doubled the poll tax on Jews. The liberum veto ended most sessions of the Sejm during the dark period to 1733. That year August II died, and Stanisław Leszczyński was elected again; but the Russian army persuaded the nobles to elect Saxony’s August III. Louis XV was married to Stanisław’s daughter Maria, and France began the War of the Polish Succession by taking over Danzig. August III was crowned at Krakow and became a Catholic. The Russian and Saxon army drove the French out of Danzig. Stanisław renounced the throne and was given Lorraine. August III let local princes and magnates govern, and they were influenced by France, Prussia, and Russia. Protestants were excluded from state offices. August III married an Austrian Archduchess and allied with Empress Maria Theresa in 1740, but he went over to Prussia in 1743 until 1745. Warsaw opened the first public library in Europe. Many books were published including an encyclopedia by the priest Benedykt Chmielowski and a French-German-Polish dictionary. Prussia’s Friedrich II detained August III in 1756, and Russian forces occupied the Commonwealth from 1757 to the end of the Seven Years’ War. Polish Jews were poor; but Izrael ben Eliezer as “Baal Shem Tov” began mystical Hasidism, and Jakub Frank claimed to be the messianic Sabbatai Zevi but became a Catholic and was imprisoned.
      Poniatowski was well educated and became Ekaterina (Catherine) II’s lover. August III died in 1763. The Sejm desiring reforms elected Poniatowski who became King Stanisław II August. The Russian ambassador Repnin blocked the reforms in 1766. More Russian forces invaded Poland-Lithuania in 1767 to support Protestant nobles and the Orthodox, and the Sejm confirmed conservative principles. In 1768 some Polish nobles and Ukrainian peasants rebelled in a civil war that killed about 200,000 people. Turkey went to war against Russia, and in 1769 Austrians invaded Poland. In 1772 Prussia, Russia, and Austria partitioned Poland-Lithuania which lost 28% of their territory and 40% of the people. Emancipating peasants attracted 200,000 German immigrants and 300,000 Russians. King Stanisław II still reigned; but the Russian ambassador Stackelberg directed the government, and Russian, Austrian, and Prussian troops occupied two-thirds of the Commonwealth. Educational reforms replaced the abolished Jesuits. Wilno and Warsaw had newspapers. Comedies were produced, and Polish operas began in 1778. The French enlightenment influenced schools.
      In the 18th century Russian officers gradually exerted more power in Ukraine, though Hetman Apostol worked on social, economic, and judicial reforms until his death in 1734. Some 35,000 Ukrainians died fighting with the Russians against the Turks 1735-39. Russia’s Ekaterina II dissolved the Hetmanate, and in 1775 Russian troops destroyed the Cossacks’ Zaporizhian Sich. In 1783 dragoon regiments replaced the traditional Cossacks, and Ukrainian peasants were reduced to serfs. Ukrainian aristocrats became like Russian nobles. Hryhorii Skovoroda taught philosophy and urged personal independence.
      In 1716 Tsar Petr visited Paris and allied with France and Prussia. The Russian government was reorganized in 1718, the year Petr’s son Alexei died after a severe whipping. In 1720 the Russian navy attacked Sweden, but the Northern War finally ended in 1721 with their treaty at Nystad. Petr pardoned those in prison and cancelled debts, and he was proclaimed “Emperor Petr the Great.” He encouraged learning and tried to reduce corruption by officials. Yet 95% of the Russians who paid the poll tax were peasants. Russia had a large army, and many died in the south.
      Petr I’s wife Ekaterina became Empress of Russia, and Prince Menshikov led the Supreme Privy Council. In 1726 Russia allied with Austria against the Ottoman Empire. In 1727 Ekaterina died, and Menshikov became regent for Petr’s grandson Petr II, but Golitsyns and Dolgorukys persuaded him to banish Menshikov. Petr II died in 1730, and Anna Ivanovna became Empress. She exiled the Golitsyns and Dolgorukys and moved to St. Petersburg where she formed her own cabinet to govern for her. Her expenses and military spending increased the debt. She favored Germans, and the Frenchified Biron became her lover. Tens of thousands who criticized her regime were deported to Siberia. In 1733 a Russian army invaded Poland and got nobles to elect August III. The troops withdrew in 1736. Russians explored Eastern Siberia and the Pacific coast. In 1736 Russia declared war on the Turks and lost 100,000 men in the war. Before dying in 1740 Anna named the infant Ivan VI as Tsar with Biron as Regent. Biron was banished to Siberia, and Ivan’s mother Anna Leopoldovia became Regent.
      While Russians were fighting Swedes in 1741, Petr I’s daughter Elizaveta claimed the throne and made French the language of her court, banishing Germans. She liked Russians and took lovers. In 1742 she expelled Jews from the Russian Empire. She had mosques destroyed, and she persecuted Old Ritualists. Russia made peace with Sweden in 1743. In 1748 a decree ordered the Academy of Sciences to translate and print books in Russian. During Elizaveta’s twenty-year reign the Senate made 80% of the decrees. By 1750 the Urals were producing more iron than the British and Swedes. In 1754 customs duties within the Russian Empire were abolished, and tripling tariffs on foreign imports helped Russian industries. A new criminal code made serfs property of the gentry. Russia’s first opera was performed at St. Petersburg in 1755, the year Moscow University was founded. Newspapers began in Moscow and St. Petersburg. In 1758 owning serfs was limited to nobles. In the Seven Years’ War the Russians allied with France and fought the Prussians. Elizaveta died in December 1761, and she was succeeded by her nephew Petr III who liked Friedrich II and allied with Prussia. His radically different foreign policy during the war was unpopular, and his wife Sophia overthrew him and became Empress Ekaterina II.
      Ekaterina II was born to German parents, but she learned Russian and married Prince Petr. She read widely and corresponded with French philosophers. She had lovers while living at the Russian court. After Petr III abdicated, she used money to consolidate her power. She withdrew the troops that Petr had mobilized against Denmark, but she accepted the treaty with Prussia and his secularization of Church property. She had most monasteries closed, but she supported the Orthodox Church. She allowed state peasants to elect 80 representatives. She prohibited the torture of suspects. She had burned towns rebuilt and created new towns. Peasants often rebelled, and she banned political writing and sent spies to monitor speech. In 1764 Ekaterina II supported her former lover Poniatowski as King Stanisław II August of Poland-Lithuania. She created surpluses that by 1765 paid off three-quarters of the national debt she had inherited. In 1767 she set up a commission to revise the laws, and her Instruction for the Commission was based on the ideas of Montesquieu and Beccaria. Yet the Commission failed. Russia improved its trade with China. Pułaski led a rebellion in southern Ukraine in 1768. The Turks declared war, and in 1769 the Russian army took Azov. That year the Russian government borrowed and began printing paper money. Critics such as Novikov criticized her policies in periodicals, and she responded in a journal.
      Russians soldiers from the Turkish War brought the bubonic plague to Moscow in 1770, and more than 50,000 people died. In 1772 Russia took 36,000 square miles from Poland-Lithuania. In 1774 a treaty with the Turks left the Crimea independent, and Russia gained access to the Mediterranean Sea. In 1773-74 the Cossack Pugachev led a major insurrection offering no taxes and religious freedom, but they were defeated. The Encyclopédie was translated into Russian. Diderot visited Ekaterina II who supported him. Novikov and Fonvizin wrote books. In 1775 she reorganized the empire to implement reforms. In 1780 Ekaterina issued her Declaration of Armed Neutrality that was joined by Sweden, Denmark, the Dutch, and others. A more humane Police Code went into effect in 1782. She offered advice in her elementary-school primer. In 1783 she started a Teachers’ Training School based on Austrian methods, and she founded hospitals and homes for orphans. She allied with the reforming Joseph II, and Austria supported her annexation of the Crimea. In 1786 the State Loan Bank was founded, and she issued her Statute for Schools in Russia. The next year she toured her empire with her lover Potemkin. Russia and the Turks went to war again in the fall of 1787. Russian population and economy grew greatly in the 18th century, but Russia lagged way behind France in schools.

Evaluating Europe 1715-88

Evaluating Europe 1648-1715

      Britain’s first German King George I could not speak English and often visited Hanover, but George III never went there. Their royal power was very much limited by the British Parliament which passed all the laws. From 1715 for many years the liberal Whigs dominated the conservative Tories such as Viscount Bolingbroke who fled to France. The Protestant majority suppressed Jacobite rebellions in 1715 and 1745. Scotland and Wales were part of Britain, and Ireland was treated like a colony along with those in North America and India. In Europe the British had conflicts with Spain. The British excelled in commerce, but corruption was exposed when the South Sea bubble burst. Robert Walpole’s 20 years of governing began the tradition of a prime minister leading the majority party in Parliament. His policies reduced the military, taxes, and the debt, and mercantilism exploited the colonies, slaves, trade, workers, and manufacturing to increase their wealth. The industrial revolution was beginning, and British society was thriving with scientists, inventors, journalists, and many people discussing issues in coffee houses. Britain formed alliances and often engaged in wars after 1744. Canals were built to transport coal which polluted London’s air. England and France led the enlightenment of culture, and yet they fought major wars against each other. During the Seven Years’ War they fought for their empires to control colonies in America and India 1755-62 and made peace in 1763. British demanding that American colonists pay for that war and depriving them of their rights as Englishmen led to the unnecessary war in 1775 that the British lost after the French aided the Americans. British rule over the Catholic majority in Ireland was especially oppressive.
      The Wesley brothers and the Methodist denomination they began provided an evangelical faith and less ritualistic form of Christianity based on its original teachings of doing good, helping the poor, and avoiding wars. Hutcheson developed an ethics based on moral feelings, and he formulated the motive of the greatest happiness for the most people. Richard Price designed insurance and pension systems, advised virtue, and eloquently opposed the war against the American colonies because he believed in self-government. Hume analyzed ethics philosophically based on experience and moved away from some religious virtues. Samuel Johnson used his intellectual ability, erudition, and hard work to improve understanding and society through journalism, literary commentary, and a great dictionary. Adam Smith also wrote on moral sentiments before explaining his economic theories in his Wealth of Nations which has greatly influenced capitalism. Yet he warned against monopolies and the excessive influence of the wealthy. Alexander Pope brilliantly put his humanistic ideas into poetry and so has helped to enlighten millions of people.
      Daniel Defoe wrote many helpful articles about social reform, and he criticized the causes of wars. He pioneered realistic adventure novels of sailors and pirates as well as describing the difficulties women had in British society. Jonathan Swift exposed English exploitation of Ireland and wrote the imaginative Gulliver's Travels to satirize his society’s plundering and its colonialism that dominated others. Samuel Richardson developed epistolary novels that showed different viewpoints while revealing the bad consequences of vices and the good that comes from virtue. Henry Fielding aimed to expose problems by using humor especially in Tom Jones. Tobias Smollett translated works by Lesage, Voltaire, and Cervantes into English and also wrote autobiographical adventures and comic novels with moral implications. Oliver Goldsmith’s novel The Vicar of Wakefield portrays a good family, and his comedy, She Stoops to Conquer, satirizes class differences. Henry Mackenzie’s novel, The Man of Feeling, reflects the growing sentimentality of this era. Frances Burney’s novel Evelina portrays the sensitivity of an intelligent young woman and exposes the unfair difficulties that women had to face then. Richard Steele’s comedy, The Conscious Lovers, aimed to teach people about romantic courtship with humor. John Gay’s The Beggar’s Opera pioneered musical comedy while also portraying criminal elements in London. George Lillo’s The London Merchant is an early sentimental melodrama that intended to expose and correct human vices. Sheridan’s comedies made fun of English society and entertained people.
      France enjoyed a fairly peaceful period from 1715 to 1733, but John Law’s banking experiment caused a speculative bubble in 1720. The French intervened in Poland’s succession in 1733, occupied Lorraine in 1734, and intervened again in the Austrian succession in 1741. In 1744 France went to war against Britain too until 1748. The French and British colonial empires came into conflict again from 1754 to 1762, and the French also fought the Prussians in the Seven Years’ War. These wars raised taxes and increased the national debt. Newspapers provided people and even the King with better information. The King and the Parlements struggled for power. The French exploited millions of African slaves in the West Indies as trade enriched Europeans. Despite its brilliant writers France endured political censorship from 1762 to 1787. Physiocrats promoted agriculture and free trade. The French supported American independence and once again came into conflict with Britain, costing France 853 million livres. Nobles were one percent but had a quarter of the economy, exploiting peasants who were 85% but owned little land. The Queen’s extravagance was resented. Science and inventions improved agriculture, mining, and manufacturing. Taking power away from the parlements provoked revolt in 1788, but the government summoned the Estates General and recalled the parlements.
      Montesquieu compared the morals of different cultures in his Persian Letters and his book on the ancient Romans. His Spirit of Laws would have a profound influence on the development of democracy because of his theory of separating and balancing the legislative, executive, and judicial powers of government. Voltaire was influenced by English authors and wrote plays, histories, philosophy, and novels that promoted the age of reason. With his pen he defended those whom he believed suffered from injustice. He severely criticized the abuses of religions but recognized there is a supreme intelligence, and he urged tolerance. He often made his points with sharp wit or satire, and he promoted many social and political reforms. Rousseau educated himself through reading and experience, and he contributed to music as well as by writing brilliant essays and books on inequality, political economy, education, peace, and the social contract of government. He described his life honestly in his Confessions. Many of his ideas are still influential, and his suggestions to unite the nations in peace remain prophetic. Diderot and d’Alembert pioneered the work on the massive Encyclopédie that gathered the latest knowledge from various writers and scientists, and some argued that animals evolved.
      Diderot also wrote philosophical novels and one about an unhappy nun. Laclos wrote the realistic novel Les Liaisons Dangereuses about sexual intrigues. He criticized men and promoted the education of women. Lesage’s picaresque novels could be fantastic and realistic, and his comedy Turcaret satirized financial corruption and created a clever valet. Marivaux presented romantic comedies that entertained while portraying love relationships. In the comedies of Beaumarchais the servant Figaro emerges as a revolutionary figure, and Beaumarchais himself raised money to support American independence.
      After losing the War of the Spanish Succession declining Spain fought the Austrians, Britain, and France. Then Spain allied with the Habsburg Empire and Bourbon France, and Prince Carlos became king of Naples and Sicily and was a reforming King of Spain 1759-88. Spain managed to avoid most of the Seven Years’ War but invaded Portugal in 1762, reviving conflict with Britain. Under Carlos III Spain adopted Enlightenment reforms. Portugal benefited from the exploitation of its colonies and was the first nation to expel Jesuits. The Inquisition was active in the 1750s and banned many books, but after 1777 Queen Maria brought about some reforms. Sicily and Naples suffered under foreign rulers and powerful barons. Vico contributed to the Enlightenment with his book on the new science. Popes governed Rome and the Papal States, and Clement XI backed Venice and the Austrian Empire against the Turks. Benedict XIV was a wise pope and implemented educational reforms as did Pius VI. Tuscany and Lombardy declined under Austrian rule, though Verri advised reforms. Cesare Beccaria of Milan wrote about needed improvements in criminal justice that were very influential. Venice with help from the Austrian Empire and other Christians defeated the Turks and then enjoyed a vibrant peace with art and festive entertainment, though aristocratic families still dominated politics.
      The Austrian Empire used force to expand, and expensive wars resulted in gains and losses. Empress Maria Theresa implemented some reforms but was an intolerant Catholic ruler, and peasants revolted. Chancellor Kaunitz and Emperor Joseph II brought about more reforms that included tolerance of religious minorities and abolishing serfdom. The Swiss Confederation was allied with France and enjoyed peace during this era. Vattel and Wolff developed jurisprudence and international law. Pestalozzi and Basedow were influenced by Rousseau and worked to improve education. Prussia expanded and developed military power under the autocratic Friedrich Wilhelm and his son Friedrich II who invaded the Austrian Empire and began the Seven Years’ War in Europe. Friedrich II was influenced by Voltaire and worked to improve Prussia, but his military aggression harmed many people.
      Although Moses Mendelssohn was excluded from attending German universities, he was aided by Lessing and made substantial contributions to the philosophical enlightenment by translating Jewish scriptures and by elucidating the spiritual philosophy of Socrates. He defended the rights of Jews and wrote about Judaism. Lessing held similar spiritual views on religion but emphasized the teachings of Jesus over church dogma. He translated Voltaire’s work into German and wrote about poetry and drama in his Laocoön. Lessing went beyond Aristotle’s limitations on drama, and his plays developed German theater. His Nathan the Wise helped encourage tolerance of different religions. He also recognized the value of Freemasonry. Kant’s critical philosophy brought greater clarity to the enlightenment, and he encouraged people to listen to their conscience and think for themselves. His ideas on ethics have provided a great foundation for western civilization. Herder’s ideas influenced Goethe whose novels and plays helped begin the romantic movement with greater emphasis on feelings. Goethe’s writing often showed the strengths of women. By 1788 Goethe and Schiller already had presented several romantic and historical dramas depicting a new revolutionary spirit in Egmont and Don Carlos.
      Belgians in the Southern Netherlands had suffered much under Spanish rule for a century and a half, but they fared better under the Austrian Empire from 1714 to 1794. The Dutch Republic faced threats from Spain, Prussia, and France, and they turned to Willem IV as stadholder. The Dutch stayed neutral during the Seven Years’ War, but financial speculation caused their economy to collapse twice. The Patriot movement began in 1782, but in 1787 a Prussian invasion divided the Republic, and Willem V regained power in 1788.
      Denmark ruled Norway and Iceland, and they made peace with Sweden in 1720 after a long Northern War. Denmark under Frederik IV and Kristian VI improved the schools and wisely stayed out of wars as did Frederik V during the Seven Years’ War. The regent Frederik VI instituted reforms of the enlightenment. Norway and Iceland were treated like colonies by Denmark, but eventually improvements were made.
      After the death of Karl XII the Swedish Riksdag took power over lawmaking and taxes. In 1738 the mercantilist Hats party gained control, and they went to war against Russia. Swedes fought the Prussians in Pomerania, but the Caps took over in 1765. In 1772 Gustav III regained royal power, and he worked with the Riksdag and implemented reforms. Swedenborg studied science and suggested inventions and economic policies before becoming an influential mystic and writing about the soul, angels, and life after death, though his books were condemned in 1770.
      The Commonwealth of Poland-Lithuania suffered a dark period to 1733 as the Sejm did not function well because of the veto. Russian forces dominated the nation. In 1768 a civil war broke out that killed about 200,000 people, and in 1772 Russia divided large portions of Poland-Lithuania with Prussia and Austria. Russia also exerted increasing control over Ukraine. Tsar Petr implemented many reforms in Russia, and the war against Sweden ended in 1721. After his death in 1725 Russia was ruled mostly by empresses. Anna had many people deported to Siberia, and Russian occupation reasserted control over Poland-Lithuania in 1733. The expanding Russian Empire often clashed with the Ottoman Empire. After a period that favored German advisors, Elizaveta made French the language of her court. She expelled Jews, destroyed mosques, and persecuted unorthodox Christians. She let the Senate govern, and mercantilism promoted Russian industries. Gentry owned the serfs. Moscow University began in 1755, and culture developed with newspapers. Russians battled Prussians in the Seven Years’ War. Ekaterina II overthrew her radical husband Petr III and prevented a war with Denmark. She favored the nobles over the peasants but reorganized government and made many liberal reforms. The major Pugachev rebellion was crushed in 1774. In 1780 she started the Armed Neutrality policy adopted by several nations. Yet her educational reforms did little for the peasants.
      Between the end of the War of the Spanish Succession in 1714 and the French Revolution in 1789 Europe increased its prosperity and education by exploiting African slaves in American colonies and in India with trade and mercantilist policies that developed their industries which gained the advantages of numerous inventions such as the steam engine. Fighting over colonies made the wars international especially in the Seven Years’ War. Republican governments thrived in the Swiss Confederation and the United Netherlands, and Britain and France were moving away from monarchy with greater parliamentary power. In the Age of Reason called the Enlightenment philosophy helped expose religious bigotry and reduced religious conflicts and the persecution of heretics and witches. Yet Christians still often persecuted Jews and fought against Muslims. Poland-Lithuania, which had more Jews than the rest of the world, was dominated by Russia which with Prussia and Austria took about a third of the country in 1772. The Enlightenment spread from Britain and France to Germany and other countries, improving scientific understanding and preparing the way for political revolutions.

Copyright © 2017 by Sanderson Beck

EUROPE & REASON 1715-1788 has been published as a book.
For ordering information, please click here.

Britain of Georges I-III 1714-88
Wesley, Hume, Johnson, Smith & Pope
British Novels and Plays 1715-88
France of Louis XV and XVI
Montesquieu, Voltaire & Rousseau
French Literature and Theatre 1715-88
Spain, Portugal & Italy 1715-88
Austrian Empire and German States 1715-88
Lessing, Kant, Goethe and Schiller
Netherlands and Scandinavia 1715-88
Poland-Lithuania and Russia 1715-88
Summary and Evaluating Europe 1715-88


Chronology of Europe 1588-1648
World Chronology

BECK index